High global prices water down tax removal from cooking gas

Cooking gas prices have increased by Sh300 since March on rising international costs, narrowing the benefits that came with removal of tax on the commodity.

Total Kenya, which has the largest gas market share, is charging Sh2,290 to refill a 13-kilogramme cylinder in Nairobi, up from Sh2,050 in April and below Sh2,000 where gas prices had remained since last July.

The prices tanked below Sh2,000 last July after the Treasury scrapped value added tax (VAT) on cooking gas to cut costs and boost uptake among low income households.

Cooking gas touched an eight-year low in March, making it one of the few bright spots more recently in an economy characterised by rising food and fuel prices that pushed inflation to a five-year high.

Dealers have attributed the rebounding prices to higher global costs at a time when the price of crude oil, from which the gas is extracted, is rising.

Total Kenya’s gas market share stood at 20.3 per cent last year while Kenol’s was 11.8 per cent. KenolKobil is selling its K-gas brand at Sh2,150.

Unlike petrol, diesel and kerosene, cooking gas prices are not regulated by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and have been left to market forces.

Gas has become the preferred energy source for households, especially in major towns, due to its convenience and because it is cleaner than other cooking fuel.

Uhuru honours SGR diplomats, builders

Number of NHIF members hits 6.5m