Consumer Federation of Kenya warns LPG regulations will cause shortage
Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) says that concerns raised over the new Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) regulations must be addressed before implementation.
As per the regulations, all LPG retailers must have permits and permission from brand owners to sell their products.
Cofek says the regulations will create monopolistic tendencies that could lead to LPG shortage in the market.
Secretary-general Stephen Mutoro said the laws, which take effect on January 1, could lead to elimination of small traders who will be unable to pay for the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) licence and work permits. He also said the rules are likely to open leeway for higher prices.
“There needs to be a price ceiling to shut out manipulation from dominant players,” said Mutoro.
LPG Regulations 2019 introduced new deposit fees for gas cylinders and removal of the mandatory cylinder exchange rule that allowed swaps with any brand at the point of purchase.
Mutoro said that although the new rules would ensure a regulated gas sector, Kenyans should brace themselves for shortage of gas in the market.
“The move to give authority to brand owners is likely to lead to a shortage crisis in the market since it will restrict business to the brand dealers and this will affect consumers convenience where unlike in the past one would access gas at local shops,” he said
Mutoro was speaking in Mombasa on the sidelines of a consumer dialogue forum.
“Issuing of brand owner permits to every trader across the country cannot happen within the few days to the deadline. Therefore, there is need to allow other parties to sell the gas cylinders,” he added.