LPG uses up to 143,000 tons

  • …low cost, public awareness boost gas demand for cooking

LIQUEFIED petroleum gas (LPG) consumption in the country increased by 33 per cent last year to 142,940 metric tonnes, from the previous year’s 107,263 tonnes.

The sharp increase in gas consumption, especially for cooking, is a result of the government efforts to raise public awareness on the LPG usage benefits.

Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) Communication and Public Relations Manager Titus Kagua said yesterday at the ongoing 43rd Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) that the increase in gas consumption was also because of the low cost of cooking gas as compared to traditional fuels like charcoal.

He said the LPG industry in the mainland continues to grow and investors have continually been investing in the business across the country.

“LPG total imports in 2018 were 142,940 metric tonnes, an increase of 33 per cent from 107,263 tonnes in 2017,” said Mr Kaguo, noting that the development of LPG market has inspired operators to invest more in the business segment.

The National Energy Policy, 2015 (NEP) emphasises on the use of alternative fuel to biomass, Mr Kaguo said, adding that the government has also been promoting substitution of charcoal and firewood by providing tax reliefs to investors to stimulate LPG uses, which are environmentally friendlier and more cost effective fuel than firewood, charcoal and kerosene.

He further observed that the main objective of NEP was geared to use alternative fuels to improve quality of life.According to the 2018 mid and downstream petroleum sub-sector performance review report, although LPG imports increase, the distribution channels and accessibility of the product especially in rural areas remain limited.

The report attributes the distribution and accessibility challenges to high startup cost to buy LPG cylinders and accessories. Meanwhile, the UWURA chief communicator said the Bulk Procurement System (BPS) in 2018 continued to maintain security of petroleum products in the country.

“There was no shortage of petroleum products in any part of the country, with 5,704,810,644 litres of petroleum products imported in the country last year compared to 5,361,445,632 litres imported in 2017,” he said.

He detailed that out of the total imports 3,264,785,479 litres equivalent to 57 per cent of the total imports were for the domestic market and 43 per cent for the neighbouring countries, mainly Zambia, DR Congo, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Uganda.

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