State to phase out charcoal from major towns in 2028


Energy PS Gordon Kihalangwa. PHOTO | ELIZABETH OJINA | NMG

The government has announced plans to phase out the use of charcoal in Nairobi and other major towns in seven years even as taxes push gas out of reach of average consumers.

Energy PS Gordon Kihalangwa said the State would accelerate the adoption of cleaner cooking fuels by 2028 despite a recent rise in the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene on new tax measures.

This is as the Clean Energy Cooking Week 2021 kicked off yesterday to discuss policy issues and gaps hindering the uptake of clean cooking fuels.

“As a government, we have committed to undertake a gradual phase-out of the use of charcoal in urban areas by 2028,” Mr Kihalangwa said in his speech read by renewable energy director Dan Marangu at the ministry.

The reintroduction of the 16 percent value-added tax on LPG in July has seen prices skyrocket, forcing many low-income households back to charcoal and firewood.

The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows LPG prices have risen 24 percent between October last year and this year due to the new tax. A 13-kg gas cylinder retailed at Sh2,513 last month, up from Sh2,019 in October last year.

The Treasury has indicated plans to revive the LPG subsidy in the financial year 2022/23 to increase the rollout of the product to poor households.

“Over the next three fiscal years, the government will strengthen enforcement and operationalisation of provisions of the Mining Act 2016, the Petroleum Act 2019 and other extractive policies for well-coordinated oil, gas and mining sub-sectors; (and) distribution of 300,000 — six-kg LPG cylinders to low-income households,” the Treasury said in the draft 2022 Budget Policy Statement.

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