The price of butane (cooking gas), heavily subsidized, went up in Mali since Saturday, rising from 2,500 CFAF to 3,500 CFAF for the six-kilogramme cylinder and from 1,500 CFAF to 1,605 CFAF for the 2.75 kg bottle, according to a joint statement issued here by the ministries of Trade and Industry and Economy, Finance and Budget.
Despite the increase, the price of butane in Mali remained lower than the prevailing prices in other countries in the west African sub-region, according to the statement.
The Malian government has been subsidizing, by 60 per cent, the price of butane to encourage the population to stop felling timber for firewood, said a Ministry of Finance official who added that felling of trees had caused major desertification and degradation of the Malian environment.
Butane gas subsidy in Mali has cost the government between 450 million CFAF and 6,586 billion CFAF.
A government source told PANA that the relatively low price of butane in Mali had encouraged smuggling of the commodity to neighbouring countries.
The source said smuggling had also caused gas scarcity in the country.
The source said that the government was considering ending the subsidy regime and liberalizing the market.