Low cooking gas use signals tough times


Major cooking gas dealers have a price difference of up to Sh500 for the 13-kilogramme cylinder, highlighting the deep margins some players have put on the commodity. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Consumption of cooking gas in Kenya shrunk to a four-year low in the six months to June, putting numbers to the impact of the re-introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the commodity amid supply disruptions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that homes and businesses used 123,150 tonnes of cooking gas in the period, a 35 per cent drop from a similar period last year— the lowest consumption in a similar period since 2018.
This has shown the actual impact of the 16 per cent VAT on cooking gas in July combined with the rising costs of crude to lockout thousands of homes from using the commodity for cooking.
The last time consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the first six months of the year was lower than the current figure of 121,360 tonnes in 2018.

The drop is a pointer that the government has lost out on collecting the intended taxes while at the same time punishing Kenyans to using the dirtier alternatives that harm the environment while worsening the country’s disease burden.
It becomes the latest example of why the tax policies in Kenya continue to hurt consumers and this should inform policymakers of the need to revisit the tax.