Consumers hopeful as Nock restarts gas plan

By Lewis Njoka
Thursday, February 13th, 2020
Gas. Photo/Courtesy
In summary

Cooking gas consumers are waiting to see if they will be lucky this time around as the government moves to revive the controversial affordable cooking gas programme which collapsed in 2018.

Already a tender has been floated to be awarded in 150 days, for the supply of valves and fittings for the project which seeks to produce cheap cooking gas in 13 and six kilogramme cylinders even as National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock), which is the agency set to actualise the plan, lacks a substantive head.

“The cylinder valve shall be with a safety relief valve and the projected quantity required for the contract period is 50,000 pieces for six-kilogramme cylinders and 30,000 pieces for the 13-kilogramme cylinders,” Nock said.

Bundled out

Managing Director George Kubai is still in acting capacity. He was appointed in October last year to replace James Nyamongo after he was bundled out by the minister barely a week after assuming office.

The controversial Sh3 billion project,the Mwananchi Gas Project, is thought to have collapsed on allegations of corruption, lack of funds, and supply of defective cylinders that posed safety risks to users during the initial phases.

It is hoped the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining has sealed the loopholes that led to the ambitious programme failing last time.

The government-led project was mooted to stem deforestation brought about by the use of wood fuel as well as reduce respiratory ailments associated with using firewood for cooking.

Under the programme, the government aims to supply millions of households with cooking gas at the subsidised price of Sh2,000, well below the market average of Sh5,000.

Market rates

When it was launched in 2016, the programme targeted to provide Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to 4.3 million low-income households who could not afford the product at normal market rates.

By the time it collapsed, the project had consumed Sh3 billion issued by the exchequer without posting any noticeable increase in LPG penetration among the targeted populations.

It sought to increase LPG penetration from to 70 per cent within three years as well as double the number of LPG distributors to eight million up from the four.