PSA is fighting for zero duty imports until the local solar industry grows enough to address quantity and quality requirements of the solar tenders in Pakistan.
Engr. Faiz M Bhutta | Chairman Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) and Director of Solar Institute ( pvt) Ltd
Why was the Pakistan Solar Association formed?
Initially I was chapter chairman of one Energy Association and Punjab Chapter under me was the only active chapter in Pakistan. First elections of the association were manipulated in a way that positions were taken over by non-stake holders and with the time this association became dead organization and lost the confidence of the solar industry community and members were disappointed and recently when solar industry went into difficult position due to imposition of 32% taxes as a result of new budget 2014-15, the solar business community started thinking of dedicated solar organization which should struggle for their rights and should be strong arm of solar business community. About more than 100 solar companies decided to form Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) and they nominated me as Chairman till new elections are held. Our Executive Committee consists of famous solar companies of Pakistan like Power Highway, Grace Solar, Nizam Energy, JKS Solar, Hisel Power, Alpha Solar, READ Solar, Dawood Lawrancepur (REON) , Creative Group etc. Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) has started its struggle at every level and this fight will go on till the rights of solar Industry are achieved.
What are the objectives of PSA?
- To protect and promote the solar business of its members.
- To advise government in development of solar policies and standards
- To create awareness amongst masses about use of Solar Energy through meetings, seminars, conferences, dialogues and publications.
- To develop standards for design, installation, operation and maintenance of Solar Energy Systems and equipment.
- To provide a platform where all stake holders exchange knowledge and information.
- To promote fair practices in solar business.
What will be the working methodology of PSA?
PSA is now the Trade Organization and solar businesses can only become its members. The supreme council will be Executive Committee represented by four provinces with one Vice chairman in each province. PSA has set up dedicated office in Gulberg Pakistan which is looked after by permanent Secretary General. The executive committee holds its fortnightly meeting at PSA office on regular basis and discusses issues and makes decisions. PSA works in democratic ways and believes in participatory management philosophy. PSA will regulate the solar industry and will be a representative body of solar business community in Pakistan. This body will work with the Government and International solar organizations and develop standards and guidelines for solar businesses and Governments. It will advise the Government in policy making. It will hold seminars and conferences to promote solar in Pakistan. PSA will be a body providing platform for local and foreign investors in finding the right partners in Pakistan for setting of solar industry in Pakistan. PSA will also work for promotion of local industry with side by side development of zero duty imports in Pakistan till local industry is developed enough to meet quantity and quality requirements.
Who can become a member and how many members are there now?
Only solar business whether small or big can be member of the organization. At present there are 100 plus members but we are getting very fast new memberships and we would like to achieve target of minimum 500 members by next year.
What is the update on duties and taxes on the import of solar equipment to Pakistan?
The solar Industry enjoyed zero duties on import since 2006 with some ambiguities in nomenclature and HS codes. There was SRO 575 and 35 and 35-A by which the solar equipment was duty free. In SRO 575 it was written that even if the solar equipment is made locally, this SRO will allow duty free import. In view of world bank directions for abolishing of SRO culture, SRO 575 was transposed into fifth schedule of finance Bill 2014 and tables were transposed without transposing text which protects the imports. So as a result, the solar equipment import was related with local manufacturing and solar panel and battery were taken as local manufactured items and when any imported equipment is contrasted with local manufactured item, the custom duty, sales tax and income tax become mandatory. EDB Engineering Development Board is an institution which updates local manufactured items and publish each year Custom General Order (CGO). EDB has mandate to promote local manufactured items. EDB included solar panels and Deep cycle AGM and GEL battery in CGO without making evaluation of the local assemblers and without considering of country demand and local manufacturing capacity and Quality of manufacturing. Government is still in favor of duty free imports but abolition of SRO 575 and transposing it to Fifth schedule without taking text with it, has resulted 32% duties and taxes but we are sure that Government will resolve this issue and Government intention is not to put duties particularly when there is 12 to 14 hours load shedding. After imposition of new taxes and duties from July 2014, PSA started its efforts and its first step was meet all secretaries of the Ministries and persuade them to take back new taxes and in this direction PSA delegations met secretaries Ministries of Science and technology, Industries, commerce and departments heads of EDB and CBR. In view of these efforts, the top decision body ECC decided in its meeting to formulate a fact finding committee including Government, local manufactures and PSA and this committee has been mandated to visit local manufacturers and assess the potential in terms of quantity and quality. The Committee made visits and found that local manufactures totally lack quantity and quality criteria and their maximum production is 6MW a year against the total import of more than 350MW a year. Solar panel manufactures do not have TUV certifications as per IEC 61215 standard for their panels and solar battery manufacturers do not have IEC 60896 and IEC 61427 standards which are VRLA and for use of renewable energy applications. We hope that the report being presented by Committee will revert the whole situation back to position before July 01, 2014. If this does not make any way, PSA will then approach court of law to challenge the Government verdict for imposition of taxes and duties on solar panels, solar batteries and solar inverters. Foreign companies heads also meet us and they have also shown dissatisfaction on the Government decision of imposing tax and duties and they have vowed to wind us their investments if government did not take back its decision.
What will be the affect on Industry if Government does not take back decisions of new taxes and duties on solar equipment?
If Government did not find the solution to reverse the affect of abolition of SRO 575 and excluding the solar panels, solar batteries from local manufactured list, the solar industry will suffer a lot and solar equipment will be expensive and solar sales will decrease and load shedding will increase further and will aggravate the economy of Pakistan and make more people jobless.
How would you like to see the solar industry in Pakistan develop over the next 5 to 10 years?
Solar Industry is growing continuously over the last five years and there is unlimited solar potential but Government has to provide incentives to solar industry so that it grows fast and help in resolving energy crisis as it is the shortest way of addressing the energy crisis.
How can PSA vision become reality?
PSA vision is to promote and protect solar industry in Pakistan and this is only way to help energy crisis in Pakistan and reduce carbon foot prints in Pakistan and in the world also. PSA is fighting for zero duty imports till local solar industry grows enough to address quantity and quality requirements of the solar tenders in Pakistan. PSA being trade body of Pakistan will initiate program for announcing Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies so that people and institutions may recognize the quality companies and make their procurement decisions accordingly. PSA will work on development of solar design and installation standards in Pakistan so that quality can be achieve in design and installations.
What is the state of solar education in Pakistan?
There is no solar education in Pakistan. GIZ Pakistan has made lot of efforts in providing solar training in Pakistan. They first created local TOTs. Then GIZ has arranged free training of trainers from RENAC Academy Berlin so that local trainers should be provided who should further train the people in Pakistan. I was one of the beneficiaries of this training. I have trained about 300 persons after getting training form Germany.
One of the barriers in growth of solar is the lack of trained solar workforce in Pakistan. So I have set up first Solar Institute in Private sector as Solar Institute (pvt) Ltd under the leadership of Mian Ahmad Irfan – Professional Businessman and pattern in chief of PSA Ltd which will have the services portfolio of Training, Consultancy, Service Center and Research and it is first serious effort toward skill development in Pakistan. This Institute will pave way for increasing solar force in Pakistan and will contribute in quick growth of solar deployments in Pakistan.
BREIF INTRODUCTION OF ENGR. FAIZ MUHAMMAD BHUTTA
Faiz Mohammad Bhutta is an engineer plus MBA. He has 35 years of experience of serving at technical and managerial posts in national and multinational companies; He is currently serving as Director Solar Institute ( Pvt) Ltd. Apart from his professional career, he has served as visiting teacher on engineering and management subjects in Air University, COMSATS University and UMT.
He has also contributed as PEC Task force member on “Building Energy Code 2011”. He is member of PEC task force on “National Electric Safety Code of Pakistan”. He is member of National Curriculum committee of HEC for energy courses.
He is chairman of Pakistan Solar Association (PSA). He is member of organizations namely International Solar Society Germany (ISES); ASHRAE USA, Life member of PEC , Life Member of HVACR Society, Life Member of IEP, Life member of IEEEP, Member of Pakistan Green Building council ( PGBC) and member of MAP. He is master trainer on solar PV from GIZ Pakistan and resource person from PEC on solar Energy for CPD Courses.
He is a writer & Trainer also and his articles are published in Alternate Energy Mag, Energy Update, EIR, HVACR Journal, TechnoBiz, Engineering Horizon, Energy Magazine, HVACR Journal etc.
He has attended lot of national and international EXPO and Conferences on Alternate Energy in China and Germany.
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