State starts distribution of 6kg cooking gas to families

Stephen Mutoro
Consumer Federation of Kenya secretary-general Stephen Mutoro. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU  

An independent inspector is set to commence safety tests on mini gas cylinders for low-income households as the State moves to revive the stalled Sh3 billion project.

Officials said the distribution of the six-kilogramme Gas Yetu cylinders to poor households will start on Monday.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) had filed legal suit and the High Court in October 2018 stopped the release of suspected faulty gas cylinders to poor households pending the hearing of a case filed by Cofek.

Conducting an independent examination of the cylinders currently at the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) warehouses was a precondition for Cofek to withdraw its court case.

“The exercise by a third party cylinder inspector to independently test the cylinders and confirm the integrity and safety of the same ahead of distribution to Mwananchi starts on Monday, May 25, 2020,” Nock chief executive Leparan Gideon Morintat told Senate Energy Committee.


He said the court case has since been dropped after certain conditions were met including bringing on board the third party cylinder inspector.

The Treasury has allocated Sh3 billion for purchase of the cylinders to be sold at a subsidised Sh2,000 rate with complete accessories under the Gas Yetu brand.

The project is meant to wean poor households from the use of dirty wood fuel. A total of 109,649 six-kilogramme cylinders, 329,422 burners and 329,260 grills have been lying in Nock’s warehouses since the distribution was halted in 2018.

The exercise aborted after it emerged that fraudulent contractors supplied 67,251 faulty gas cylinders, scuttling government plan to provide poor homes with cheaper cooking fuel.

It was established that more than a third of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders supplied to the Nock were sub-standard, including having faulty valves that posed the danger of fire eruptions.

Under the Sh3 billion State plan, dubbed the Mwananchi Gas Project, the households were to receive 6kg cooking gas cylinders and burners at a discounted price of Sh2,000.

The market price for the 6kg gas cylinder with cooking accessories is about Sh5,000.

According to a report prepared by Nock, the State oil marketer shows it procured 357,355 cylinders of 6Kg in the 2017/18 financial year, out of which 200,257 were supplied.

Of these, 70 percent (139,946) were inspected where 80,839 cylinders were accepted for circulation while 59,107 cylinders were rejected for being defective.