KEREA – PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES MEETING HELD ON 27TH FEBRUARY 2019 AT INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL
- February 27, 2019
- 7:00 am to 10:00 am
- INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL
REPORT FOR THE KENYA RENEWABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION AND PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES MEETING HELD ON 27TH FEBRUARY AT INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL.
Programme of the Day
1. Arrival and Registration of Participants
2. Welcoming Remarks
3. Introduction of KEREA and Parliamentary Committees representatives
4. Presentation on the Background of the Renewable Energy Industry
5. Brief description of the Parliamentary Energy Committee and Parliamentary Environmental Committee
6. Interactive Session for both KEREA and The Parliamentary Energy Committee and Parliamentary Environmental Committee
7. Practical presentation of products by KEREA members
1. Arrival and Registration of Participants
Members and the Parliamentary Committee representatives started arriving at 7:00am. Registration was done at the entrance of the meeting room by a KEREA usher. There were 45 participants at the meeting.
2. Introduction of KEREA and Parliamentary Committee representatives
Er. Kamal Gupta started the meeting at 9:00am, who began by welcoming all the guests to the meeting and informing the participants of the purpose of the meeting. He also led introductions of both KEREA and The Parliamentary Committee representatives.
3. Presentation of the Background of the Renewable Energy Industry
Mr. Kamal led this session, he commented about the importance of the meeting to the sector. He added that the private sector was willing to work together with the Government particularly the Parliamentary Committees to make the renewable energy sector favorable in terms of trade facilitation.
He introduced KEREA in terms of its formation, its leadership, objectives and the renewable energy initiatives to promote policy implementation.
Pauline also led the presentation on the Importance of Solar appliances towards rural economy by job creation and promotion of clean energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the impacts to the economy presented included:
Income Generation – Some solar units are targeted towards domestic use. Fisher men also use lamps during fishing
Job Creation – The villagers are involved in the sales and marketing of the products and therefore this create jobs for the community. The reason for this was because the villagers were well familiar with the language and the community preferences
Education – Children use the solar products for studies.
Information Access – The community use the solar products especially the solar home systems units to get information through the radios and the TVs.
As a side note, it was mentioned that, In 2022, kerosene needed not to be used for lighting anywhere in the country.
4. Brief description of the Parliamentary Energy Committee and Parliamentary Environmental Committee
Hon David Gikaria, MP Chairperson Energy Committee led this session by briefly introducing the Parliamentary Energy Committee. He added that the government was committed to support the Renewable Energy sector. He also mentioned that there was a provision of 16 Million for solar lanterns, which was targeted to the Off Grid areas.
He also added that KEREA needed to apply to be a coopted member of the private sector at the Kenya Renewable Energy Advisory Committee. He mentioned that this was still an ongoing process, which the president had not yet signed into law.
He added that the Parliamentary Energy Committee needed to work with KEREA, and insisted that the Mr. Kamal Gupta needed to be included in the Energy committee.
He concluded by requesting the sector to make the solar products cost friendly to the consumer in order to get government support.
The representative of the Parliamentary Environmental Committee also gave a brief description; he mentioned that their main mandate was to prevent emissions to the environment.
5. Interactive Session for both KEREA and The Parliamentary Energy Committee and Parliamentary Environmental Committee
Mr. Andreas led this session, which was interactive for both the KEREA and The Parliamentary Committees Representatives.
Mr, John Odida, a member of KEREA
He began a session by marketing one of the products at Mwangaza Limited. He gave a brief description in terms of its uses, benefits and the cost of a solar powered PA system.
Dr. Robert Pokosa – The VC Energy Committee.
He began by commenting of his key areas of interest in the solar industry, which included Provision of Lighting, Public address and fridges. He also added that, the sector needed to come up with innovations on the side of Solar Water pumping equipment
He added that KEREA also needed to involve the finance committee especially on issues to do with VAT.
Mr.Patrick Tonui, a representative from Gogla.
He commented that initially solar companies focused on lighting equipment but added that overtime companies started to offer services for irrigation and others also use solar energy to treat drinking water.
Mr.Stephen Nzioka, the Deputy Director Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy.
He commented that the Ministry of Energy was currently implementing the KOSAP project funded by the World Bank. He added that under the KOSAP project had a Solar Home System Component and a Solar Water Heating Component.
Hon. Elisha Odhiambo, MP Gem
He commented that KEREA needed to talk to parliamentarians in order to be involved during the tax rebates discussions.
He also added that there was need to look at getting income over the years by producing cheap energy. He mentioned that the current energy production in Kenya was 2600MW yet the demand was 9900MW.
A representative from the Energy Committee
He mentioned that solar energy was the way to go. He encouraged KEREA members for their efforts.
He also added that KOSAP needed to be taken to Kajiado County.
Pauline Githugu, M-Kopa
She commented as a reply to Hon. Charity, MP Njoro, that there were no pilot programs. She added that over 6000 homes had been connected to the energy in the rural areas, She added that most people in the urban areas were not aware of solar companies as they are known in the rural areas
Hon David Gikaria, Chair of the Energy Committee
He asked on the connectivity data taken to the Ministry of Energy for analysis.
He also inquired about the availability of spare parts for the renewable energy products.
He also inquired on the vandalism of the solar home system units in the rural areas
He also requested for specific challenges of the renewable energy sector that could be addressed that the level of the Parliamentary Committee.
Pauline Githugu – M-Kopa
She commented that half a million systems had been deployed all over the country.
She also commented that The Ministry of energy in collaboration with KOSAP had a mandate is to ensure access to energy to Kenyans.
In response to the vandalism question, she mentioned that communities using the appliances over the recent years had understood the value of the Renewable Energy products.
Mr. Kamal Gupta, Chairman KEREA
He mentioned on the role of KEREA to promote capacity building in the Renewable Energy sector.
He added that Kenya was the best country in terms after sales support and in terms of creating awareness.
He also added that there were companies in Kenya that had repair systems
He also added that due to technological upgrade, products are durable.
Hon. Charity, MP Njoro County.
She inquired on the solar cooking systems available, the affordability of the appliances and the unavailability of solar pilot programs in Njoro.
Radhika Thakkar – Green Light Planet
She mentioned about the change of VAT on certain products of the solar kit.
She also mentioned on the challenge faced by renewable energy companies at the port where for instance, Green Light had their products stuck at port. She mentioned that similar companies who had gone through the same challenge were M-Kopa and One Acre Fund.
Mr David Gikaria, Chair Energy Committee
He mentioned that the challenge was quite similar to the liquor sector, which was solved through interventions from the Parliamentary Trade Committee.
He indicated that such problems are best solved through a letter to the Parliamentary Trade Committee stating the exact problem.
Cynthia Muhati, Solar Panda
She mentioned that the main problem was not about ‘’kitu kidogo’’. She insisted that the VAT on solar products translated to high prices to the common mwanachi.
She added that the approval process at the clearance was long, she indicated that in recent time it takes a whole month, a process that previously took a week.
She also added that the KRA were not for the interest of importers, the costs involved during clearance included Demurrage cost and Storage fees, which alternatively brings the overall cost high.
She requested for assistance from the Parliamentarians.
Mr David Gikaria, Chair Energy Committee
He suggested that KEREA members needed to get specific items that were delayed at the port and present them to the Energy Committee for assistance.
He also added that KEREA needed to submit a list of items that needed to be exempt in order for them to be included during in the budget making process.
The Evaluation Index Summary
1) Members were satisfied with the meeting.
2) The meeting generally met its objective and was well structured.
3) Members had an opportunity to ask questions during the meeting.
4) The following are the topics members would like to see covered at future meetings;
Empowering homegrown renewable energy solutions.
Custom duties and taxes
Standards relating to products
More discussions on solar home systems
Solar-Hybrid & Electric ‘’Powered’’ vehicles, motor cycles etc.
Initiatives the government is taking on technical training of renewable energy professions
Overview of funding opportunities
5) Members thought the meeting would have been better if we started in time and if all the invited guests came.
Report prepared by Shaleen Wangui
Kenya Renewable Energy Association