Households feel the heat as gas prices hit 22-month high
Cooking gas prices have shot to a 22-month high, returning to levels seen before the government removed value added tax (VAT) on the clean fuel.
Official data shows that the cost of refilling a 13-kilogramme gas cylinder rose to an average of Sh2,172 last month, up from 2, 169 in March and Sh2,083 in April last year.
April’s cost is the highest since June 2016, when the Treasury scrapped VAT on gas to cut costs and boost uptake among poor households who rely on kerosene and charcoal for cooking.
Prices stood at an average of Sh2, 231 in June 2016, and dropped to below Sh2,000 in October, four months after the scrapping of the 16 per cent VAT.
The price has, however, been on a steady climb since last September when it stood at Sh2, 094 in line with rising petroleum cost, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The rise happened in an environment of lower inflation which dropped to a 63-month low of 3.73 per cent on slower rise in food prices.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has delayed plans to control gas prices as it awaits an upgrade of the LPG storage and handling facilities for issuance of single gas tender commonly referred to as the open tender system (OTS).
The ERC has plans to start publishing cooking gas prices to enable consumers push cash-hungry dealers to lower the cost of the commodity.
Gas has become the preferred energy source for households that can afford it in major towns due to its convenience and cleanliness when compared to cooking fuel.
Industry data shows that gas consumption jumped 25 per cent last year to 189,30 tonnes from 151,700 tonnes last year and 93,000 tonnes in 2013.
Kenya imports all its cooking gas, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is processed from crude oil.