Why clean energy push in budget is just pie in the sky
SEE ALSO :Guards seek pay hike in new planRotich in his budget statement indicated a willingness by Government to push for more electric cars and lowered excise duty on these types of cars being brought into the country. This was while he pushed up the cost of fuel guzzlers, with vehicles with an engine capacity of over 3000cc will attract an excise duty of 35 per cent of their price. Despite the seeming push for a greener country, Kenyans still have to grapple with dirty sources of electricity generation, including the high installed capacity for thermal plants and a planned coal plant. Government agencies are also notorious for their preference for fuel guzzlers known for polluting the environment. “Although currently there is low uptake of electric powered motor vehicles in the country, green energy technology is being embraced in many countries due to environmental benefits and renewability. Kenya too needs to promote the use of this clean type of energy in line with the sustainable development goal seven which can be achieved through lowering the cost of these vehicles through tax incentives,” said Rotich. “This will encourage uptake of these vehicles as well as encourage investment in this area of technology. Further, it will support the policy on green energy thereby reducing carbon emission. In this regard, Mr Speaker, I propose to reduce the excise duty on motor vehicles that are fully powered by electricity to 10 per cent.”
SEE ALSO :MPs block more pay for guardsIn the local market, there are numerous hybrid cars running on electric batteries but switch to petrol when the battery is low on charge or operating at certain speeds that are a strain on batteries.
Increased dutyThese will however not benefit from Rotich’s reduction in excise duty. In his Budget Statement, the CS also increased duty on cars that have a high engine capacity, a move likely to collect more taxes than promoting the green agenda. In his 2018/19 budget statement, Rotich increased excise duty from 20 per cent to 35 per cent on private passenger vehicles whose engine capacity exceed 2500cc for diesel and 3,000cc for petrol powered vehicles. However, cars with an engine capacity of between 1500cc and 3000cc will pay an excise duty of 25 per cent, while those with an engine capacity of over 3,000cc will pay 35 per cent from 30 per cent. Initially, all vehicles, regardless of their engine rating, attracted a uniform excise levy of 20 per cent. But now, motor vehicles with a fuel capacity of more than 3000cc will attract high duties.
Eliminating plasticsPresident Uhuru Kenyatta announced the ban during this year World Environment Day and the Tourism and Wildlife Ministry said it would issue regulations to guide the process of eliminating plastics in parks. “The Ministry commits to ensuring that the Kenya Wildlife Service and all stakeholders in the wildlife sector jointly work towards the full implementation of this ban on single-use plastics in all our protected areas. We will also organise for public consultation and participation on the drafting of regulations necessary for this implementation,” said the Ministry in a statement. Despite the push for a greener country, Kenyans still have to grapple with dirty sources of electricity generation, with the installed capacity for thermal power at over 807 megawatts (MW) - about a third of Kenya’s installed power production capacity of 2,700MW. The State has severally said it will retire thermal generators but the push and pull have seen them continue operating. Their installed capacity has grown to 807MW last year form 801MW in 2017. There are also plans to add another 981MW of coal power from the proposed Lamu plant. The diesel and coal power plants are costly to the consumer and the environment.
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