Government officials and activists agree with the need to provide tax waivers on appliances of eCooking to transform Nepali kitchens promoting more clean energy and reducing dependency on imported LPG and traditional biomass-based dirty energy.
The current data published by the Department of Customs showed that Nepal imported LPG worth Rs. 45.34 billion in the last nine months hitting Nepal’s dwindling foreign currency reserve.
Given the concern over dwindling Nepal’s foreign currency reserve, activists urge the government to provide a tax waiver to electric cooking appliances to promote clean cooking. They argue that just a million rupees equivalent to a tax waiver can save millions of foreign currency reserves.
In an interaction program organized by Nepal Energy Foundation on the theme Clean Energy in Cooking in the Coming Fiscal Budget and policy agenda, speakers highlighted how Nepal can achieve to goal set by the government to increase clean energy.
Presenting the overall scenario of energy use Dilli Prasad Ghimire, General Secretary of Nepal Energy Foundation said that an overwhelming 69 percent of the population still uses traditional sources of energy for cooking followed by 6 percent renewable and 3 percent commercial. Out of this, 58.5 percent population are using firewood by LPG 9.4 percent and very small numbers of households, or 3 percent of the population have been using eCooking.
Nepal has already targeted to reduce the use of LPG by 2 percent by 2030. For this, the government has announced its policy to distribute 500,000 electric stoves to households by 2025. According to policy, Nepal has also targeted to distribute an additional 200,000 by 2028 to meet the Social Development Goals.
Ghimire, a well-known eCooking activist, urged the government to take all necessary steps including wavering in electric cooking devices and investing in the improvement of the current distribution system in the country. He demanded that the government must come up with a clear strategy and package.
Dr. Kundan Pokharel Majgaiya, a senior officer of the Alternative Energy Promotion Center, said AEPC has been working for a long in promoting clean energy by supplying smokeless stoves, improved stoves and biogas.
He said that AEPC has already installed 450,000 biogas plants. “We are also planning to use liquid wastes and public toilets. AEPC has also installed biogas plants in Central Prison and other such places to produce clean energy. He said that there are possibilities to install 1.1 million biogas plants. He also said that AEPC has already distributed 1.4 million smokeless stoves in the country and additional 3 million improved stoves in the process of distribution. He said that they have 22373 electric cookers.
Despite the constraint of the budget, AEPC is working to distribute electric cooking devices including induction, infrared and electric pressure cookers. AEPC has also worked with local levels to promote cooking.
Narayan Prasad Khatiwda program director of the National Planning Commission said that the ongoing 15th five years plan is giving priority to the promotion of eCooking and clean cooking. “eCooking is our priority area,” said Khatiwada.
Participated by representatives from the Ministry of Forest and Environment, National Planning Commission, Alternative Energy Promotion Center, Nepal Electricity Authority, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, media persons, persons representing the civil society organization involved in the clean cooking campaigns, this is the discussion of first of its kind intensively discussed on the budget and policy issues.
Undersecretary from the Ministry of Forest and Environment said that the government has already committed to clean and electric energy through its National Determined commitment presented to the UNFCC.
Sagar Mani Gyawali, an engineer of NEA, said that there are over 5000 transformers in the country and they are enough to supply 3000 MW of electricity. He said that there are enough transformers to supply the
electricity in the current situation. What is required is just to turn the current 2-phase electrify supply to 3 phase.
He also warned that distributing induction rampantly without analyzing the capacity for distribution and wiring may invite disaster and it is highly risky as well. There need to address the safety issues.
At a time when Maoist Center in its political manifesto announced to provide incentives to clean cooking and Finance Minister Janardan Sharma Prabhakar and Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal have been publicly expressing their commitment to clean cooking energy, the first step should be to waive the VAT for clean cooking devices.
“Waiver of VAT will surely hop to promote eCooking Appliances,” said Mohan Das Manandhar. We have been making all our efforts to convince the Ministry of finance to take this decision.”
Presenting the paper showing the state of electric cooking, constitutional provision, legal and regulation and status of eCooking, general secretary of Nepal Energy Foundation Dilli Prasad Ghimire
Narayan Gyawali, chairperson of the National Association of Community Electricity Users-Nepal, (NACEUN), demanded policy level change and tax waiver in the forthcoming budget.
Karuna Bajrachaya from Clean Cooking said that there need to raise awareness regarding the benefit of the
use of Electric cooking. She said that traditional source of energy is affecting the health of children and women. “Given the current state of deteriorating environment and impact of climate change, electric cooking has no alternatives.
As the government is preparing the budget searching a way to reduce the dependency on LPG, the suggestions given by the interactions is highly valuable and helpful for policymaking.