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Economy

State House seeks charcoal suppliers amid logging ban

seized charcoal
A Kenya Forest Service officer guards seized charcoal in Marsabit. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

State House is set to spend taxpayers’ cash on charcoal despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s push for clean energy.

In a tender notice published Tuesday, the State House has invited bids for the supply of charcoal (and liquefied petroleum gas) for cooking, and supply for general office stationery (pencils and books, document folders and files), among other items.

Trade in charcoal is highly restricted in Kenya as the State seeks to preserve forests.

In February last year, the government imposed a ban on logging to boost the regeneration of the forest cover, sending the charcoal prices up.

Prices of the commodity have shot up from Sh31.60 per kilo in January 2017 to Sh141 in April this year, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistic (KNBS) data.

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This marks the highest rise since the KNBS started making public monthly prices of the cooking fuel in 2007.

Charcoal prices last year rose the most among goods used to calculate inflation, hurting the poor who use the commodity for cooking.

The KNBS data show charcoal prices rose 70 per cent to Sh141 per a four-kilogramme tin in December — the highest price last year.

The government on February 24, 2018 suspended logging in public forests, triggering a sharp rise in timber and charcoal prices.

State House is also seeking suppliers of (and maintenance service for) photocopiers and office equipment as well as the provision of printing of cards, brochures and booklets among other items.

Jubilee administration, which came to office in 2013, has been keen to promote digitisation in government operations.

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