The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa (centre) launches the Shell Gas safety campaign at Vivo Energy Uganda. She is flanked by the company’s Commercial Manager, Mr. Anthony Ogalo (right) and Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Val Okecho.
Vivo Energy Uganda has today embarked on an initiative to drive adoption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as gas, as a clean cooking solution. Dubbed ‘Shell Gas, Safe for You, Safe for the Family’, the campaign will provide greater public awareness towards the benefits of LPG as a safe, affordable and cleaner source of cooking energy.
“This campaign is informed by the very low uptake of cooking gas as a clean cooking solution in Uganda. Only 3.5% of Ugandan households have embraced and use clean cooking energy. Overall, market potential is hindered by myths and fears around the safety and affordability of gas. Through this campaign, we will be educating the public not only on the benefits of Shell Gas, but also on how to use gas safely for both home and commercial purposes. We will also have some attractive offers on Shell Gas for customers to take advantage of,” said Anthony Ogalo, the Commercial Manager at Vivo Energy Uganda, who delivered the remarks on behalf of Gilbert Assi, the Managing Director.
A 2016/2017 Uganda National Household Survey found that over 90% of Ugandan households use wood fuel for cooking. This has greatly contributed to a staggering depletion of the country’s natural forest cover from 24% in the 1990s to a shocking 8% in 2019.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Energy, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, said the government supports efforts to drive adoption of clean cooking energy for both home and commercial usage, which have proven health and environmental benefits.
“The Government supports efforts to scale-up access to clean cooking to provide alternatives to the usage of wood fuels which have damaging consequences for our environment. We are keen to work with the private sector to make clean cooking more accessible for the population. The Government also implemented tax reforms in the 2020/21 Financial Year to exempt cooking gas from Value Added Tax (VAT) to drive affordability.”
Uganda loses an estimated 100,000 hectares of forest cover every year as a result of wood based cooking energy like charcoal.
“Climate change is a concern the world over and Uganda’s forest cover is being depleted at an alarmingly fast rate, in part due to the need for charcoal and firewood. This is not sustainable and the effects of these decisions will have serious consequences for us and the generations to come. I applaud Vivo Energy for this initiative to advocate for the adoption of clean cooking energy. LPG is not only better for the environment but also offers less gas emissions, significantly reducing household air pollution and providing a safer and healthier home environment,” said Hon. Nankabirwa.
According to the World Health Organization, Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) ─ ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030 ─ will therefore require a massive scale-up in the deployment and adoption of clean and affordable clean cooking solutions.
Vivo Energy Uganda also called upon government to implement and enforce regulation to ensure adherence to specific health and safety standards by all market players to ensure customers are well protected.
“Unfortunately, the safety of gas in this industry is compromised as a result of unsafe activities in the market like mobile cylinder refills, using substandard equipment and poor filling conditions. However, we believe that with stronger regulation, this can be resolved to ensure better safety of LPG. To ensure Shell Gas is safe, we have extensive Health Safety Security and Environment policies in place to ensure that our processes, from filling, storage, handling and distribution ensure adherence to the highest safety standards,” Mr. Ogalo said.