Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL) has signed a cooperation agreement with eight more private companies to supply off-grid electricity to 70 percent of electricity consumers before 2019.
The Independent Power Producers will provide electricity in remote areas far from the national electricity grid mostly using solar power.
Speaking Friday before the signing ceremony, , the Managing Director of EDCL Emmanuel Kamanzi, reiterated the need to work with the private sector to ensure universal access to power.
“We always want to join hands with the private sector because we cannot implement our strategy and process alone. I also want to emphasise that this is an open market, we want the private sector to fairly compete in the spirit of working together to achieve a common goal,” he said.
According to Kamanzi, the eight companies join 16 others already on board.
Early this month, the government hosted a mission of EU investors in the energy sector, who, if deals are reached, can partner with local private sectors to boost electricity supply.
Most of local players in the private sector have projects but lack major financial capital to supply large groups of consumers.
“We want to supply all Rwandans with electricity, thus having private sector on board is cutting short the journey,” Kamanzi added.
Although the government provides tax holidays for major companies investing in the energy sector, smaller energy projects like solar are exempted from import duty and enjoy cut on Value Added Tax.
Justus Mucyo, a retailer operation officer of BBOXX (Africa), a local solar energy provider, noted that energy prospects can be achieved through increased partnerships.
“Since we launched our project here in the country, we have so far supplied 25,000 houses and our target is 50,000 before the end of the year. It is a good step we are now officially working in partnership with EDCL since we had been informally working with them,” he said.
According to Francine Munyaneza, another player in the industry, a license from EDCL is more like a quality stamp to distribute services to people.
“The procedure is quite bureaucratic but it is worth going through. We are happy to cooperate with EDCL which takes time to help market our products,” she said.
Her company which so far distributes solar heater panels.