Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has called on people to use gas for cooking saying Liquefied Petroleum Gas is affordable and is an ideal alternative to charcoal which is greatly contributing to wanton cutting down of trees and leading to environmental degradation.
MERA argues that the gas, which is sold at K2,175.00 per KG, is affordable and sustainable due to the removal of Value Added Tax and Excise Duty also provides a safer environment for living things since it is ozone layer friendly.
Speaking in Mzuzu during a sensitization meeting on LPG retailers, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority Consumer Affairs and Public Relations Manager, Fitina Khonje, said as part of Mera’s strategic plan and in line with government policy, the Authority ensures the gas is properly regulated in order to triple the capacity of its usage.
“The Authority is committed to the proliferation of the use of gas in a safe and regulated manner. In fact, it is our goal and Public sector reform to triple LPG volumes in Malawi within the next three years,” Khonje said.
She further said LPG usage in Malawi is still low compared to other countries where LPG is a primary source of energy used in almost all households whether rich or poor, in rural or urban areas.
One of the participants who is Director for LKG Services, Chigomezgo Gondwe, appealed to Government to consider subsidizing other LPG related materials considering their current prices which are still exorbitant and prohibitive to the poor masses.
“Some LPG materials like gas cylinders are still very expensive making it prohibitive to the poor masses whose rate in fuel wood usage is very high contributing greatly to environmental degradation emanating from increased levels arising from the use of charcoal and firewood as energy source,” Gondwe said.
According to MERA, currently only 1.6 million people in Malawi use Liquified Petroleum Gas for domestic purposes and the Authority now targets 4.8 million people to use gas by the end of three years representing 40 percent growth.