Explore all the options before costly carbon tax


Heavy traffic jam along University way in Nairobi on April 22, 2022. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

The plan to introduce a new tax for motorists and companies to curb carbon emissions is plausible but ill-timed.

Under the plan, the State is seeking the introduction of a congestion charge — a fee charged on cars driven in zones marked as heavy traffic areas such as the central business district.

Companies, especially manufacturing plants, face a fresh carbon tax to encourage them to cut emissions.

While it's commendable that Kenya will be following in the footsteps of major cities that have introduced or are on course to unveiling the traffic congestion charge, there is a lot that needs to be done to make the programme sustainable.

The State should not burden already an overtaxed population with new levies without exploring other available programmes that can help the country cut its carbon emissions.

The government should fist invest in the infrastructure to support other non-motorised transport such as e-scooters, bikes and pedestrians. Also, a working public mass-transit system would ease the congestion on major roads.

Cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu require well planned public parks and walkways that are safe for commuters, which in turn can cut the dependence on motorised transport.

The national and county governments should also support efforts to increase forest and tree cover in the country. Scientists have said in recent years that increasing vegetation cover can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Further, the State should consider policies that will boost the uptake of green technologies such as electric cars.