Is the government serious about e-mobility or is it just a buzzword?

The electric vehicle (EV) industry, a cornerstone of sustainable transportation, has witnessed significant growth worldwide. Governments globally are introducing policies to promote EV adoption, leveraging its potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. However, the case of Kenya highlights a perplexing scenario where recent government policies seem to contradict the initial supportive measures, raising questions about the country’s commitment to sustainable development.

In the past few years, Kenya has made commendable strides in promoting e-mobility. The government’s early initiatives included removing VAT on electric vehicles and batteries, which catalyzed the growth of the EV industry. This policy environment fostered innovation and investment, aligning with Kenya’s renewable energy strengths. With over 90 per cent of its electricity sourced from renewables, Kenya is well-positioned to lead in green transportation. President William Ruto’s vision of achieving 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 further underscored this commitment.

Finance Bill threatens e-mobility progress

Proposed tax changes threaten to claw back the incentives that fuelled the e-mobility boom. This sudden policy reversal starkly contrasts the unified support from the Ministries of Transport, Energy, Industrialization, and Environment, all of which recognise e-mobility as a cornerstone of Kenya’s sustainable future. The potential benefits are clear: reduced pollution, enhanced energy independence, and economic resilience.

The legacy automobile industry’s resistance to e-mobility is understandable but ultimately shortsighted. Local assembly of fossil-fuel vehicles undoubtedly creates jobs and economic activity. However, these gains are outweighed by the long-term costs of continued fossil fuel imports, which drain foreign exchange reserves and perpetuate energy dependency. The argument that e-mobility threatens local jobs overlooks the potential for new job creation within the electric vehicle ecosystem, from assembly and maintenance to the expansion of renewable energy infrastructure.

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