The energy sector faces constraints delaying its development, according to the FEC

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Kinshasa, December 3rd, 2022 (CPA). – The still worrying business climate for private operators, in particular the collection of redundant taxes and at prohibitive rates, is one of the obstacles that is delaying the development of the energy sector in the DRC, said declared the president of the Federation of companies of Congo (FEC), Albert Yuma Mulimbi, at the opening Friday in Kinshasa of the round table of the sixth conference on energy called « DRC NRJ ».

“The untimely control missions initiated by certain State services, the reasons for which are for the most part unjustified, are also part of these burdens. This heavy taxation increases the costs of the factors of production of the operators of the sector and does not allow the accessibility of electrical energy to the population at rates compatible with the purchasing power and the economic reality », noted the president of the FEC.

The latter mentioned in the various payments, the taxes, duties, royalties, contributions, contributions, fees allowed collected by the central power, the provinces and the decentralized territorial entities without any readability or predictability.

To make the energy sector more attractive and improve the business climate, Albert Yuma recommends the following as a priority: accelerate the deployment and operationalization of ARE and ANSER at the provincial level, renew Decree No. 18/ 054 of December 27th, 2018 setting the practical provisions on tax and customs relief measures applicable to the production, import and export of electrical energy which expires on December 26th, 2022.

He requested the involvement of the Prime Minister, the Minister in charge of Water Resources and Electricity for the renewal of this incentive measure as well as the signing of a decree for its implementation, taking into account the weaknesses and the proposals made.

 “It should be noted that the economic growth experienced by our country for more than two decades, for it to be sustained and sustainable, it is imperative to make significant investments in the energy sector. And to do this, our country has enormous potential, but also real opportunities in the sector. But unfortunately, our energy balance remains in deficit when we compare the level of production to that of consumption,” said Albert Yuma.

He said that these two-day meetings, from December 2nd to 3rd, constitute a space for reflection and debate with a view to finding, in a concerted manner between the various actors intervening in the sector, appropriate solutions likely to remove the constraints weighing on the development of energy in the DRC.

Since the promulgation, in June 2014, of the law relating to the sector, he pointed out, progress has been made which has made it possible to accelerate private projects whose implementation will help to reduce the energy deficit to which the country is facing and which is delaying its industrialization process, the diversification of its economy, in short its sustainable economic development.

Among these advances, he cited, among others, « The establishment, in 2018, of the Electricity Sector Regulatory Authority (ARE) and the National Agency for Electrification and Energy Services in rural and peri-urban (ANSER) as well as the appointment of their facilitators in 2020; despite, he noted, the delay in making these two institutions operational (4 years for their creation after the promulgation of the law and 6 years for the appointment of their leaders)”.

“There is also support from the government in the advancement of energy projects like KIPAY SOMBWE on the RIVI7RE Lufira which was validated during the 59th meeting of the Council of Ministers held on June 24th, 2022, Tembo Power on the Kakule River in the Lubudi area or Great Lake Energy on the Congo River in Kinsuka and so many others; modification and relaxation of the standard concession contract; the rehabilitation and construction of certain hydroelectric power stations thanks to the public-private partnership between SNEL and mining companies”.

Albert Yuma suggested that following the liberalization of the electricity sector in 2014, private economic operators are developing energy projects to fill the gap, finding, with the support of the government, solutions for the construction of new power plants. Hydroelectric power stations, by rehabilitating existing power stations and associated electricity networks and by resorting to the importation of electricity to maintain the production cycle of mining companies.

The economic model of private operators

In addition, the president of the FEC, Albert Yuma stressed that the economic model developed in the DRC by private operators in the energy sector integrates the environmental requirements carried out in the social and environmental impact studies. These studies carried out by reputable firms and approved by the Congolese Environment Agency (ACE), capture the risks of projects on biodiversity and identify strategies for their mitigation in their implementation, while providing for the development of the economic activities of the local population located in the mining areas. The President of the FEC also indicated that at the end of the exchanges and discussions which will result from this round table, a roadmap declined on the short and medium terms will be drawn up, which will allow the local production of electricity to meet the social and industrial demand that is expressed on the one hand, and to take action to materialize the increase in local service on the other hand.

In addition, he made it clear that the implementation of the 145 Territory Development Program (PDL 145 T) being implemented throughout the national territory should rely on local private operators to carry out the various energy projects that are contained therein.

Finally, Albert Yuma asked the President of the National Energy Commission to strengthen collaboration with the other actors operating in the renewable energy sector, in particular those who exploit photovoltaic energies and develop small projects in mini or off-grid electricity, to integrate the corporation for efficient management of their concerns and support in the development of their activities for the general well-being. CPA/