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Cost of kerosene, charcoal hits families as use of cooking gas grows

By Macharia Kamau | April 27th 2019
By Macharia Kamau | April 27th 2019

The use of cooking gas has risen to a record high as households search for alternatives following the sharp rise in cost of wood fuel and kerosene last year.

While the cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has registered an increase, the rise was modest and did not match the sudden hike in price of charcoal following the ban on logging, or that of kerosene that is now subject to levies in a bid to stem adulteration of petroleum products.

Kerosene consumption also declined following implementation of a series of levies aimed at combating adulteration of other fuels using kerosene.

These include the Sh18 per litre anti-adulteration levy, increase in excise duty to Sh10 per litre from Sh7 and the eight per cent value added tax that affected all petroleum products.

According to the survey, the volume “of illuminating kerosenedropped by 29.1 per cent to 316.9 thousand cubic metres in 2018. The decline in the volume of kerosene transported for domestic consumption was as a result of the implementation of the anti-adulteration levy of Sh18 per litre during the review period.”

Charcoal and kerosene have been critical fuels for households across Kenya but their high cost has driven them out of reach.

A Government plan to migrate the charcoal and keroseneusers to use cooking gas has been hit by major hiccups threatening the entire project.

The Mwanachi Gas project by the Ministry of Petroleum aimed at distributing 6KG gas cylinders complete with burners to four million households has been held back by claims of fraud and is currently a subject of a court case.

According to the Kenya Economic Survey 2019, Kenyans used222,300 metric tonnes of cooking gas in 2018 compared to 189,300 metric tonnes that they had consumed in 2017.

“Demand for liquefied petroleum gas grew by 17.5 per cent,” showed the survey unveiled on Thursday. Refilling a 13kg cylinder of cooking gas cost Sh2,173 in 2018 on average, compared to Sh2,075 in 2017.

At the same, time there was a reduction in charcoal and fuelwood sold in Kenya following the ban on logging last year February.

According to the survey, the sale of fuelwood and charcoalapproved for sale from Government forests declined to 9,600 stacked cubic metres compared to 35,700 in 2017 and a high of 147,200 in 2016.

The Ministry of Environment banned logging in February in an effort to save the fast disappearing forest cover in the country.

“Quantity of fuelwood and charcoal sold dropped by 82.1 per cent,” showed the survey. There was also a decline in the number of timber and power poles that were sold during the year.

“The control measures put in place to conserve existing forest products resulted to 83.6 per cent fall in sales of timber, from 881,800 true cubic metres in 2017 to 144,200 true cubic metres in 2018.”

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