The government has started the implementation of proposed tax increment on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The 16 per cent value-added tax has seen the price of a 13kg cylinder of LPG rise from Sh2,250 to a record high of Sh2,610 beginning this month. The implications of the raft of measures that the government took in a bid to address the national debt burden will definitely have a ripple effect.
Many struggling households will revert to ancient sources of energy that are considered injurious. People in the informal settlements for instance, who had started abandoning kerosene and charcoal as a source of energy will have no option but to revert to what they previously used. There will be more demand for charcoal, and our forests will be at the mercy of loggers once more. Use of firewood, cow-dung or even kerosene to fuel our stoves will also see a rise in respiratory complications.
On average, the world has over 3 billion people that use wood as sole source of cooking energy, and a shocking 4 million succumb non-communicable health conditions associated with indoor air pollution each day. Global warming that is associated with release of greenhouse gases into the environment will be accelerated. Individuals and firms that trade in cooking gas will also suffer a blow should the tax imposed on the commodity stand. Our international trade partners may not be amused.
Edwin Murimi, Nairobi