- November 12, 2020
- Posted by: kerea
TERMS OF REFERENCE: PR AND COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT TO ADVOCATE FOR THE REVERSAL OF THE VAT AMENDMENTS ON THE
RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR
|Project Title||PR and Communications Support to advocate for the reversal of the vat amendments on the renewable energy sector|
|Funded By||BFZ and GOGLA|
|Implemented By||Consulting Company/ Individual Consultant|
|Position Title||Consultant for the PR and Communications Support|
|Reporting To||Chairman, Kenya Renewable Energy Association|
|Duration||6 to 8 months|
|Project Location||Nairobi, Kenya|
|Address/Location||3rd floor, Strathmore Business School, Keri Rd, Off Ole Sangale Rd,
P.O. Box 42040-00100,
Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA), the umbrella body for ALL inclusive types of the Renewable Energy Technologies.
KEREA represents various specific sectors / sub sectors through working groups such as: Solar Home Systems (SHS ) Working Group, Solar Water Heating ( SWH) Working Group, Mini – grid Working Group, Geo – thermal Working Group, Hydro Working Group, Marine Energy/ off –shore / tidal wave Working Group, Bio – energy Working Group ( Bio – gas, Bio – mass, Bio – fuels) and Wind Energy Working Group )
KEREA’s vision is to see a vibrant and conducive business environment for renewable energy products and services with a mission to facilitate the growth and development of renewable energy business in Kenya.
Renewable energy solutions have been recognized globally as a critical component for concurrently realizing social/economic development goals and environment/climate change targets.
The Kenya National Electrification Strategy, 2018 states that 25% of the Kenyan population lacks access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. The KNES underlines the importance of both standalone solar (SAS) and mini grids to achieve universal access. In line with the KNES, the recently launched Kenya Off- Grid Solar Energy Access Project (KOSAP) aims to electrify 1.3 million people to achieve universal electrification by 2022. It focuses on supplying households in 14 underserved counties, where ability to pay may be more limited and it is harder to reach these households with affordable energy access services. While the off-grid solar sector is now well established in Kenya, it nonetheless remains out of reach for many of Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable.
Secondly, Clean cooking solutions remain the most viable climate smart solution for the majority of Kenyans who rely on biomass fuels for their cooking needs. 71% of households in Kenya still use inefficient cooking solutions which are harmful to their health. Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, Kenyans are more exposed to longer periods of household air pollution exposure which makes them more vulnerable to the infection within their households. With the biomass fuels taking lead in the usage amongst the households, more interventions need to be undertaken during this period to scale up the adoption of clean cooking solutions.
Government and private sector need to put concerted efforts to deliver on the goals outlined in the KNES 2018 to achieve SDG Goal 7 of universal energy access by 2022. In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the government introduced a raft of changes to through the enactment of the Finance Act, 2020. The Finance Act, 2020 deleted paragraph 45, 65 and 67 of the Value Added Tax, N 35 of 2013 which provided for tax exemption of the various clean energy and cooking products.
Prior to the enactment of the Act, the sector had through KEREA, and strongly supported by the Ministry of Energy, proposed that the amendments to the VAT Act in regard to renewable energy products should be removed. Nonetheless, the VAT Amendments were enacted.
Separately, The East African Community in its June 30th, 2020 Gazette made amendments to Article 26 of the 5th Schedule to the East Africa Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) which provided for duty exemptions for Solar and Wind Generation products. Previously Article 26 as amended in 2016 provided exemptions for “Specialised equipment for development and generation of Solar and Wind Energy, including accessories and deep cycle batteries which use and/or store solar power.” This has since been removed.
The sector is now faced with retrogressive changes on both the duty and tax status of these renewable energy products. These changes have already impacted the sector through price increases occasioned by introduction of VAT and duty. This change is especially difficult for end users / consumers of renewable energy products who are also grappling with the difficult economic situation occasioned by COVID 19.
The overwhelming majority of off-grid consumers and households who access their energy needs through solar-powered or clean cooking energy solutions come from lower-income, rural communities. Over the years, the VAT exemption on solar products played a critical role in increasing affordability. The change to VAT and duty risks the continued growth of the sector as there is evidence demonstrating that the consumers of clean energy products are especially price sensitive. A study1 of fiscal policy in East Africa estimated that a 20% increase in tariffs on SHS would reduce sales of pico solar products by 18%, and of larger solar home kits by 32%.
To respond to this tax, a coalition of actors under the umbrella of the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA) are working to undertake an economic impact assessment on the impact of the VAT and duty changes on the three sub sectors i.e. clean cooking, mini-grids and stand-alone solar. The coalition has undertaken a preliminary survey of the initial impact of VAT on the sector and has presented the findings to the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and the National Assembly Energy Committee.
The coalition includes: The Clean Cooking Alliance of Kenya (CCAK); Association of Mini Grid Developers (AMDA); Power Africa Off-grid Project (PAOP); Africa Clean Energy Technical Assistance Facility (ACE TAF); SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and coordinated by Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).
The coalition now seeks the engagement of a PR and communications expert in Kenya to support the ongoing advocacy efforts.
To respond to the VAT Amendments in Kenya, the coalition has put together a PR and communications strategy outlining the objective of the campaign, the key stakeholders, the messages that need to be developed, and the actual tools required to reach the various stakeholders. If implemented successfully, this PR and communications strategy is expected to enhance the advocacy efforts of the coalition and increase the likelihood that the decision makers respond by reversing the tax status of these renewable energy products.
1 Rob Fetter and Jonathan Phillips, The True Cost of Solar Tariffs in East Africa, Policy Brief, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions (Durham, NC: Duke University, February 2019), https://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/publications/true-cost-solar-tariffs-east-africa.
The objective of the PR and communications campaign is to:
- Inform and educate the key stakeholders and members of the public on the role, importance and contribution of the renewable energy sector for inclusive social and economic development on rural, Off-Grid communities.
- Inform and educate the various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the legislative arm of government on the impact of VAT on achievement of the KNES goals, and the continued growth of the sector towards the attaining universal access to energy.
- Enhance knowledge of the contribution of the sector to GDP and other SDGs including access to health, decent work and economic growth, and education.
- To rally support from the National Treasury and the National Assembly for the deletion of the VAT amendments on renewable energy products through the upcoming budget review window in parliament.
This PR campaign is primarily targeted at the policy and decision makers in the country, primarily the National Treasury as they are the custodian of the government’s revenue raising strategies. However, the VAT Amendments were introduced through the Finance Act, 2020 and therefore the National Assembly is a key decision maker on this issue, specifically, the Finance and the Energy Committees. There are other important audiences in this conversation including:
- The Members of Parliament from counties whose communities are off grid and would be the most impacted by the tax;
- Members of Parliament who have traditionally supported the energy sector as well as influential bi-partisan MPs who could support the agenda;
- The Ministry of Energy and related departments including Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), the Kenya Off- grid Solar Access Programme (KOSAP), among others.
- Off-Grid Communities reliant on Renewable Technologies for their energy needs.
- Other stakeholders who may be affected by the VAT amendments including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Sustainable Energy Access Forum (SEAF-K), Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), GSM Association, Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK), Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA); Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF) and the Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG) among others.
Given that one of the main channels identified to reach the key target audience are mainstream media, it is crucial to work with a local professional media relations expert in Kenya to help implement the plan. The coalition, represented by KEREA and GOGLA, is looking for a PR/media specialist with strong connections to Kenyan media and ideally a good understanding of the renewable energy sector.
To effectively prepare and run the campaign, the coalition is looking for a media relations/PR professional who is available as soon as possible. A contract duration of 8 months (November 2020 to June 2021) would help support advocacy efforts throughout the entire engagement period. A different timeline can be discussed with the consultant. It is expected that the consultant will support the delivery of indicative outputs outlined in the tools and tactics table below.
Scope of work, tools and tactics to implement the PR and communications campaign (indicative, based on discussion with selected consultant)
|Audiences||Tools to communicate||Frequency|
|Mainstream press||2 pieces per month
|Direct Engagement||3 times during the period|
|National Assembly Energy Committee||Mainstream press||1 piece per month/letter to the editor|
|Direct engagement||3 times during the period|
|Members of Parliament from low access constituencies||Mainstream press||Letters to the editor/County news|
|Direct engagement||1-2 meetings during the period|
|Mainstream press||1 article per month/letter to the editor|
|National Assembly Energy Committee||Direct engagement||4 times/as required|
|Mainstream press||2 pieces during the period|
|Digital media||Once every two months|
|Influencers||Mainstream press||Once during the period|
|Digital media||Twice during the period|
|Newsletters||Once every quarter|
|Consumers||Mainstream press||Once every two months|
Submission of proposals
You are required to submit technical, qualitative and financial proposal by due dates below.
Please submit your proposals by close of business Friday, 20th November 2020 to the undersigned address:
Kenya Renewable Energy Association,
3rd floor, Strathmore Business School, Keri Rd, Off Ole Sangale Rd,
P.O. Box 42040-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
Email application to: email@example.com