Clean fuel: State to hand out free gas cylinders to poor households

An estimated 24 per cent of Kenyan households use liquified petroleum gas as opposed to 56 per cent who use kerosene. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

As part of transitioning more Kenyans from the use of firewood and kerosene to cooking gas, the government has proposed the supply of free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to 4.4 million poor households by 2025.

The envisioned issuance of a 6kg LPG cylinder to poor households will be done in partnership with the private sector, leveraging existing supply chains.

The Kenya Kwanza administration plans to ring-fence an Sh18 per litre anti-adulteration levy collected on domestic kerosene to grow LPG use, including the acquisition of subsidised cylinders. A Cabinet meeting in Kisumu on Monday also proposed the removal of the taxes on locally manufactured cylinders as well as on the cost of their revalidation.

The Cabinet noted that cutting the landed price of LPG due to competitive sourcing either through government-to-government arrangements or through the open tender system (OTS) would lead to a reduction in consumer prices.

LPG is used in about 24 per cent of Kenyan households as opposed to kerosene at 56 per cent. Currently, refilling a 6kg cylinder costs between Sh1,450 and Sh1,400 in most outlets. 

Official data shows that about 70 per cent of the population relies on biomass and other dirty fuels such as kerosene as the primary cooking fuel. Biomass is, however, said to burn inefficiently and emit toxic pollutants, contributing to most upper respiratory tract infections, hence the need to urgently wean people off the use of such fuels.

It is approximated that about 14,300 Kenyans die annually due to complications associated with indoor pollution. The transition from the use of biomass and kerosene to LPG, which is cleaner, will help in the reduction of premature deaths associated with indoor pollution. Increased uptake of LPG is also expected to result in increased tree and forest cover, thus reducing the impact of climate change.

To ensure that the gas becomes affordable and readily available, the government proposes common importation of LPG through government-to-government arrangements or through OTS. The Cabinet observed that the lack of a common user LPG import facility in Mombasa and in the hinterland under the control of the government has hampered the implementation of a common import mechanism, such as the OTS.

jng’[email protected]  

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