High cost of cooking gas sends households back to firewood
Friday April 09 2021
Rising prices for cooking gas in the country have sparked concerns of likely reversing gains made in the push for a clean cooking solution as more households turn to wood and charcoal.
The latest hike in Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices saw consumers pay Rwf300 more for a kilogramme since March following an earlier rise by about Rwf150 a kilogramme. This was attributed to challenges related to trans-border transportation that followed the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
A spot check in Kigali markets by Rwanda Today indicated that the retail prices of LPG is the highest ever recorded in two years with a kilogramme having risen from Rwf860 to Rwf1200 at most retail shops.
This translates into over 39 per cent price increment. According to the importers, the high prices are based on international oil price fluctuations which are being exacerbated by speculation by middlemen along the distribution and retail chain.
“Gas as a by-product of crude-oil refining, its market was impacted by the latest spike in oil prices internationally. Unfortunately, unlike other petroleum products which are regulated, gas prices are determined by market forces and it is apparent that somehow retailers seek a higher profit margin,” said Joseph Akumuntu, head of the Rwanda association of petroleum products importers .
On march 3, pump prices shot up to Rwf1,088 and Rwf1054 a litre of gasoline and diesel respectively from Rwf987 and Rwf962. The Regulator attributed the to changes in the international oil market that pushed gasoline prices by 30 per cent while diesel rose by 26 per cent.
In price changes attributed to this variation and supply bottlenecks linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, LPG retailers have been refilling the 20 kilo cylinder at Rwf24,000 from as low as Rwf17,200 previously. The 15-kilogramme cooking gas rose from Rwf12,900 to 18,000 while the 12-kilogramme rose from Rwf10,320 to currently Rwf 14,400.
Refilling the 6-kilogramme cylinder goes for Rwf7,200 from Rwf5,160 previously. Unlike other petroleum products whose prices are regulated by the utilities’ regulator, LPG prices vary from one seller to another based on factors ranging from the source of the products, transport costs and others.
The prices are much higher in rural areas and upcountry towns as retail traders factor in transport logistics.