Households in the country have over the past few weeks witnessed an increase in prices for cooking gas, a situation that threatens to upset the gains made towards minimising the use of charcoal and firewood. Some cooking gas vendors who spoke to The New Times said that the unpredictability of prices, which has been blamed on global trends, have plunged them into losses. Earlier last month the prices of the gas increased from Rwf1,100 per kilogram to between Rwf1250 and Rwf1275 and by last week, the prices for the same had jumped to Rwf1,350. Claude Ndayizeye, a gas vendor in Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District told The New Times that generally, the prices started increasing earlier this year though it was initially ‘manageable’. “Before the prices used to increase by Rwf20 up to Rwf30 but since October, the increase has been drastic in the area of Rwf80 and Rwf100 and above,” he said. He added that they are counting losses due to such drastic hiking of prices because buyers are becoming fewer by the day. “I used to sell up to 30 cylinders per day but today I hardly sell 10 because I think people are going back to using charcoal,” he added Another vendor from Kimironko, Teta Niwewe, raised similar concerns, estimating that she has so far lost about 40 per cent of her clientele within one month. Hassan Mugabo, a resident of Gasabo District said that he has already switched to using charcoal as a cheaper option, going by the soaring cost of gas. “It has been almost three weeks since I started using charcoal because gas is no longer affordable. For instance, six kilogrammes of gas now cost Rwf9,000 while a full sac of charcoal that I can use at least for two months cost around Rwf10,000 in my area,” he said. Different importers who spoke to The New Times said that the issue is beyond them, adding that government has heavily subsidised cooking gas, but that factors are beyond the local market. “Unfortunately, we are only price takers. Prices are driven by the international market. There is nothing we can do to lower prices. Currently, the trend is upwards until the end of Quarter one of 2022,” said Liban Mugabo, the Managing Director of Safe Gas Rwanda Limited. Safe Gas is one of the importers and distributors of cooking gas in the country. Government aware Speaking to The New Times Ernest Nsabimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA) said that the government is working with all related institutions to curb this issue at the national level. “The prices have been increasing on the international market but we are now working with the Ministry of Trade and suppliers among others to see what we can do to tame the prices which are predicted to increase until at least earlier next year,” he said. Adding that within three weeks they will release the module prices. However, he added that it is hard to fix the issue since the biggest challenge is a lack of strategic reserve. “In Rwanda, we have low capacity of gas storage which made the suppliers import the gas at least every four days which kept prices changing and hard for us as a regulator to stabilize,” he added.