Cut import duties on green tech equipment: analysts
Analysts yesterday urged the government to cut duties on imports of green technologies and interest rate on eco-friendly products promoted under the central bank's refinancing scheme.
The cut will encourage the industries to embrace energy-efficient solutions, they said. For example, they said, equipment used in the eco cooler is more expensive than the conventional air conditioners because of high import duties, refraining big firms from using green technologies to save energy.
They spoke at a conference on “Green growth solutions” at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel.
The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bangladesh in partnership with Danish Embassy, the foreign affairs ministry and the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Dhaka hosted the event.
A number of speakers said the 9 percent interest rate levied on green products prompted by the BB scheme is very high compared to the market average rate.
“The existing interest rate on refinancing loan is high,” said Siddique Zobair, a member of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA).
The SREDA is in talks with the central bank to bring down the rate, he said.
He also said the SREDA plans to include the demand for cutting the tax on renewable energy equipment imports in its proposals for the upcoming budget.
AH Mahmood Ali, foreign affairs minister, said awareness among stakeholders and a specific policy for green economy can promote inclusive and green growth in Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh has put greater emphasis on energy efficiency, energy conservation and utilisation of renewable energy in industries and the housing sector.”
More than 4 million solar home systems have been installed across the country, serving 16 million people. In industries, the country promotes cleaner production with the principle of resource efficiency and recycling, according to the minister.
Mikael Hemniti Winther, Denmark's ambassador to Bangladesh, said there is a huge potential to employ Danish-inspired energy-efficient solutions in Bangladesh to boost the country's transition to a green economy.
Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, said the gas shortage would go by October this year but the price will be higher.
A price slab may be put in place for different levels of consumers, he said.
He urged the business community to be energy-efficient in order to remain competitive when the gas price goes up.
Nihad Kabir, president of MCCI, said green energy solutions should be part of the mainstream economy.
“A green growth should be adopted by the government to encourage energy efficiency.”