Local solar module producers have urged the government to protect local manufacturers by imposing a 10-percent duty on the import of foreign-made solar modules.
The local manufacturers also want the government to impose a reference value at US 50 Cents per watt-peak.
Solar Module Manufacturers of Bangladesh (SMMB), a newly launched trade body representing the local solar module manufacturing industries, came up with the suggestions in a letter to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) ahead of the national budget which the Finance Ministry is now preparing for fiscal 2017-18.
The SMMB has also sent a letter containing the same content to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), a copy of which UNB obtained.
Mentioning that currently there is no duty on the import of foreign solar panels or any module, the local manufacturers said this has opened up the door for low-quality foreign goods to enter the Bangladesh market which will ultimately destroy the growing local manufacturers.
Forwarding a 10-point argument in favour of their propositions to the NBR, the SMMB said 10 industries were set up locally who have been manufacturing solar modules in line with the government's vision for a middle-income country where power generation from renewable energy was targeted at 3100 MW by 2021.
The SMMB said the local manufacturers are capable of supplying solar photovoltaic (PV) modules for annually 100-110 MW solar power generation.
But, it said, many foreign-made substandard solar panels and modules are entering the country's market with zero-duty advantage and offer products at lower prices. But, they do not offer any warranty or guarantee for the products.As a result, the consumers are being cheated with such low-quality products, the SMMB added.
On the other hand, it said, the local manufacturers offer 12-15 years' of guarantee for their products.
According to the local manufacturers, the unchecked entrance of low-quality foreign solar panels are not only distorting the local market, but also creating a bad impact on the overall sector as people are losing confidence in the solar system-run green power generation.
"The local industry should get a priority in taxation policy based on the ethics that there should be a tariff gap between the locally-produced products and imported finished products," SMMB president Munawar Moin told UNB.
He said government projects should have a preference to the locally-produced panels in their programmes so that the local industry can feel encouraged.
Mentioning the solar module manufacturing industry is lobour-intensive one which has already created huge jobs, he said the local solar module manufacturers are now exporting their products to at least 10 counties apart from meeting the local demand.