The cost of cooking gas in the country has started falling in recent months amid decreasing demand due to Covid-19 pandemic which has left many businesses closed and drop in international prices of oil.
However, retailers are cautioning the relief is temporary as the country still lacks sufficient storage capacity for reserves.
A kilogramme of cooking gas is now retailing at between Rwf900 and Rwf1,000 from Rwf1,084 in April imposed by Rwanda Utility Regulations Authority as flat rate.
“We have started getting the low-priced cooking gas in the last two to three weeks…” Said Bosco Ndayiragije, a cooking gas retail in Gasabo district.
An analysis of the retail price of a kilogramme of cooking gas indicates that the widely used cylinders of six kilogrammes and 12 kilogrammes are costing at around Rwf5500 and Rwf1,1000 respectively.
Reduction in price has also been occasioned by scrapping import duty on gas imports. According to the gas dealers, which have seen the price of LPG gas drop by Rwf1, 000 per kilogramme two years ago from Rwf4,000 in a decade ago, the demand for gas cooking has started picking up.
However, delears indicate that on top of the prices on international going down thanks to the coronavirus pandemic kick in, the prices have curved as the businesses including hotels have cut their demand on cooking gas usage.
“Since a couple of weeks ago, prices on cooking gas have started dropping.Though the travel restrictions posed by the pandemic have disrupted the movement of the commodities, gas has been not affected as some of the businesses have closed down,” Swaleh Abdu Mubaraka, city gas dealer told Rwanda Today.
However, private players are still grappling with the limited capacity of storage that could sustain the drop in local prices for a while.
“The local prices are reflecting on the reduction of the prices on the international markets, but this is a thing that can change anytime as we have not enough storage that could sustain us for at least two months once there is an issue in the supply chain,” said Alexis Mutware, general manager for Energy, Water and Sanitation at Rwanda Utility Regulations Authority.
According to the recent government official figures, over five per cent of Rwandan urban households use LPG for cooking, an increase of four per cent from 2014. Only 1.1 per cent of rural households use gas for cooking.
This means that out of the 2,708,000 households in Rwanda, only 135,400 use cooking gas.
According to the recently released consumer price index from the National Institutes of Statistics, the prices of gas and other utilities have decreased by 0.5 per cent in June but jumped high in July by 4.3 per cent.