Tanzania gas dealers hit out at ‘monopolistic’ Kenyans

Petroleum PS Andrew Kamau. file photo | nmg
Petroleum PS Andrew Kamau. file photo | nmg 

Tanzanian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) dealers have accused Kenyan “monopolistic” firms of influencing the government’s April ban on commodity through the Namanga border, renewing the long-running trade feud between the two countries. 

Petroleum PS Andrew Kamau had said the directive that all LPG imports undergo quality checks at the Mombasa port would help tame rising illegal gas refilling plants in the country, which are exposing unsuspecting consumers to safety risks.

Tanzania LPG Association, however, claims the ban on imports — trade which had been thriving for more than 10 years — was meant to deny Kenyan consumers the “benefit of having competitive prices enjoyed by others in the region”.

About 40,000 metric tonnes, or 40 per cent, of estimated 100,000 tonnes imported into Tanzania annually are re-exported into Kenya, the Tanzanian LPG lobby claims.

“The consequence of the ban is that some companies in Kenya operate in a monopolistic set-up contrary to fair competition practices as set by East African common market rules,” the lobby group claimed. 

“It is easy to notice that monopoly and protection practices have pushed prices up in Mombasa and affect consumers in Kenya. Dar es Salaam used to make Mombasa competitive.”

Average cost for a 13-kilogramme cooking gas cylinder rose 5.95 per cent month-on-month to Sh2,229.50 in June from Sh2,104.29, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows.

The rise is, however, not entirely linked to the ban on imports through Tanzania.