The cost of cooking gas has remained high despite a recent intervention by the government aimed at reducing prices.
This is partly attributed to an ongoing battle between importers and distributors of gas.
While the Ministry of Trade and Industry had not responded to our queries by press time, Rwanda Today has established that the retail cost of a kilogramme of liquefied petroleum gas, which had increased by Rwf560 in six months to Rwf1,400 as at November 2021, has barely reduced to date.
A mini-survey by this paper shows the cost has increased with a kilo costing at least Rwf1,500 Yet, Rwanda utilities regulatory body (Rura) issued a directive on December 15 capping retail and wholesale cost of liquefied petroleum gas at Rwf 1,260 and Rwf1,220 a kilogramme respectively.
Rwanda Today has learnt that a joint inspection by government agencies is in the offing across markets in the country to crackdown on individuals and businesses responsible for the price hike.
However, traders who spoke to Rwanda Today were quick to blame this on the fact that the government directive was issued without prior consultation to iron out concerns over existing stocks, as well as ways to compensate for losses resulting from ever changing market dynamics beyond their control.
But distributors and retailers allege that wholesalers refused to comply with the new tariff while the latter pin the blame on petroleum importers.
“We could not change anything when wholesalers kept the prices unchanged ever since the announcement came out. A six kilogramme cylinder still goes for Rwf 7,500 and we sell at Rwf8,500 to Rwf9,000 depending on whether one has to do delivery,” said Potient Tuyishimire, a retailer based in Kimisagara of Nyarugenge District.
“In my view, the price cap only prevented further increment because the directive came at a time when a kilogramme had reached Rwf1,330 at wholesale.”
The petroleum product importers’ association, however, blames both the distributors and retailers for resisting to implement the regulators tariff despite all filling plants in the country selling at Rwf1,151 a kilogramme in line with the agreement held between their members and government.
Joseph Akumuntu, the association head said the cooking gas market is not regulated and thus driven by market forces.