60,000 cylinders to restart cooking gas subsidy plan

Some 60,000 six-kilo liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders are to be distributed in the initial phase of the state subsidy scheme for affordable cooking gas planned to restart in July,  official documents show.

The disclosure came as the Petroleum ministry sought suppliers of smart meters to be fitted on the cylinders that will be distributed among low-income households in the country.

The Treasury allocated Sh470 million towards the revival of the LPG subsidy scheme in its expenditure plan for fiscal 2022/23 from July—a substantial increase compared to the Sh155 million that had been allocated for the cause in fiscal 2021/22.

A plan released by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani last November indicated the State would distribute 300,000 units of 6kg LPG cylinders to low-income households in the next three years.

The LPG subsidy revival scheme would come as a major relief for households pressured by the commodity’s current high prices.

Discounted price

LPG is the preferred fuel for households that can afford it in major towns due to its convenience and also because it is cleaner than other cooking fuels.

Under the initial subsidy scheme, the beneficiaries were to pay a discounted price of Sh2,000 in three years for the burner and cylinder, with refills pegged at Sh840 at the time.

Costly crude oil in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the imposition of value-added tax, and the search for higher margins by dealers have combined to send cooking gas prices to the highest level in Kenya’s history.

The cooking gas subsidy scheme introduced by the Energy ministry during the 2016/2017 financial year sought to cut reliance on environment-unfriendly kerosene and charcoal, which are the main source of fuel for most rural and urban poor households.

Distribution challenges

Execution of the scheme was, however, hindered by some suppliers, who provided faulty cylinders.

The plan was also adversely affected by distribution challenges at the State-owned National Oil Corporation, which was to drive the programme.

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