Environmental activists are worried about the proposed tax increment on Kerosene saying it is likely to increase cutting of trees for wood fuel. While presenting the 2014/2015 year financial year budget on Thursday last week, Maria Kiwanuka, the Finance minister imposed a tax of 200 shillings on a liter of Kerosene.
She said the tax would fetch government 15 billion shillings. However, Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director National Association of Professional Environmentalists says the proposed tax is counterproductive to environmental conservation. He notes that over 95% of the country’s population especially people in rural areas are dependent on both paraffin and wood fuel for lighting and cooking.
Muramuzi says enforcing the new tax on Kerosene will force people to depend more on charcoal and fire wood, which will escalate deforestation. He also notes that increasing taxes on Kerosene, petrol and diesel automatically affects other necessities of life, adding that fuel is the driver of everything. He urges Parliament to reject the proposed tax on kerosene is likely to impact on the environment negatively.
//Cue in: “they should review it……….
Cue out:………not a good thing”//
Geoffrey Kamese, the Senior Programme Officer at the National Association of Professional Environmentalists notes that Kerosene is the most used fuel for low income earners. He argues that imposing tax on fuel is another way of piling pressure on wood fuel. He says once passed in its current form, the budget is likely to increase demand for charcoal, which he said is not good for the Environment.