Members of Parliament in Uganda have called for a reconsideration of the import tax on cooking gas, suggesting that the current high cost of gas is contributing to deforestation and charcoal burning. The legislators emphasized that reducing the tax on cooking gas would make it a more affordable alternative, encouraging the public to move away from environmentally harmful practices.
Key points from the parliamentary discussion:
- Cost Discrepancy: Legislators pointed out a significant price difference between cooking gas in Uganda and neighboring Kenya. For instance, the cost of 10 kilograms of Stabex gas is reportedly Shs30,000 in Kenya but sold at Shs80,000 in Uganda. The high price in Uganda was seen as a deterrent to compliance with bans on charcoal burning and deforestation.
- Government Incentives: Calls were made for the government to introduce incentives, such as providing gas to impoverished communities, to promote environmental conservation. Legislators suggested that these incentives could be considered during the budgeting process.
- Role Modeling by Leaders: The Speaker of Parliament urged legislators to lead by example in environmental conservation by actively participating in tree-planting campaigns. This approach aims to inspire citizens to follow suit and contribute to sustainable practices.
- Alternative Energy Sources: While advocating for affordable cooking gas, some MPs also emphasized the need for deliberate efforts to reduce the cost of electricity, which could serve as an alternative energy source. Concerns were raised about high electricity connection fees, making it inaccessible for some households.
- Update on Rural Electrification: The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development was requested to update Parliament on the progress of the rural electrification program. Despite the country generating significant electricity, some communities remain unconnected, leading to concerns about the effectiveness of electrification efforts.