Fuel prices hike, a burden to already struggling Kenyans
The upward Review of fuel prices in the country by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) last week on Tuesday 14th September 2021 has translated to a general rise in the cost of living in the country. The review has taken effect at a time when most Kenyans are struggling under the covid19 pandemic which has had its adverse effects.
The latest fuel prices by EPRA indicate that prices of a Litre of Kerosene, Diesel and Petrol increased by ksh 12.97, ksh 7.94 and ksh 7.58 respectively. The rise according to EPRA is due to the increase of taxes on the products.
“The prices are inclusive of 8% VAT in line with the finance act 2018, the tax act 2018, the tax laws amendment act 2020 and the revised rates for excise duty adjustment for inflation,” Daniel Kiptoo, EPRA director general said.
But with the abrupt increased prices ever seen in the country’s history, Kenyans are now starting to feel the heat of the hike in fuel especially those who depend on Kerosene as a main source of energy.to many low income earners in the country, Kerosene is a valued commodity.
Jacky Waithera a resident of Mlango kubwa area in Mathare constituency is among millions of Kenyans who rely on Kerosene for cooking. Each day she is forced to part with 80 shillings in order to purchase the treasured commodity, but with the 12 shillings hike in the commodity per litre is now draining her pocket.
“Hapo mwanzoni ulikuwa unaeza buy mafuta ya 30 bob lakini kuanzia 2018 ilianza kupanda hadi 80 bob upike nayo lunch na urudi upike nayo supper, sasa hii ya 110 ni one touch. Before, Kerosene used to retail at 30shillings, but after the year 2018 when the finance act 2018 was passed in Parliament, prices of Kerosene has been rising sharply, Kerosene that retails at 110 shillings now can’t sustain me for even two days,” she says.
Dorothy Musyoka from Kibra slums in Nairobi represent many Kenyans who depend on Kerosene for lighting and cooking in their homes.
“Sahi vile mafuta imepanda na hiyo shilingi 12 sijawai sikia kitu kama hiyo, sasa hata sisi kwa upande wa kupika ni gharama kubwa sana,” This sharp increase of Kerosene prices by 12 shillings has never happened in Kenya. It’s now so expensive to prepare food at home for some of us who live with less than 1 dollar a day,” she said
The mother of five, who decided to venture into selling chips in the area and earns 300 to 400 shillings a day, says the latest move has made life unbearable.
“Maisha imekuwa ngumu na itabaki kuwa ngumu tu, kupikia watoto itakuwa ni shida sasa vile mafuta imepanda.unajua mimi ni single mother. Life is so hard currently, preparing food for our children will be harder because of the sharp increase of fuel prices, being a single mother is even harder.” she adds
She now says the only way she will help herself from this predicament is by her resorting to use of firewood, a reality that many Kenyan’s are now facing.
“Kulingana na vile maisha inanipeleka mimi nimeona niwachane na hiyo mafuta, ninunue kuni, nipikange nayo au pengine makaa, makaa ya 50 bob ukiekelea hata kama ni ugali na mboga inaeza iva.With the way things are currently, I will be forced to buy firewood or even resort to using charcoal,” she says.
And in Kiandutu slums Kiambu county things are no different.
“Itabidi sasa nitumia candle sasa coz bei ya mafuta taa imepanda. I will now be forced to use a candle for home lighting at night,”George Chege says.
According to the World bank 17th Edition of the Kenya economic update 2018, Kenya has been ranked 6th in Africa , among countries with the largest people living below the poverty line , 14.7 million Kenyans live below the poverty line.
The latest move by the government led to transporters in the country warning of a hike in fares.
“As a sector we are already overburdened, there is no way we will continue to suffer in silence,” Matatu welfare Association chairman, Dickson Mbugua said while addressing the media last week.
He said the Matatu sector industry which had gone through a tough time during the covid19 pandemic, is still making huge losses despite being allowed by the government to carry full capacity, a situation he says has been worsened by the fuel price increase.
It is prudent for the government to come up with innovative ways to raise taxes as opposed to the current move. The continued rise of taxes on basic goods will not only anger Kenyans but also threaten to disrupt the country’s peace through unrest as it happened in Sudan in 2018 where massive protests broke out over the price of bread and fuel and which later led to the overthrow of Sudan’s ex-president Omar al Bashir.
Petroleum CS John Munyes and his counterpart energy CS Charles Keter will on Tuesday 21st September 2021 appear before parliament to answer questions on the recent increase in fuel prices
“I direct that the committee on energy immediately issue summons to the two cabinet secretaries and EPRA to appear on Tuesday. All senators should be invited to sit at the chamber,” senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka ruled.
VIDEO OF THE DAY; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CSEdtp3Hb8
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE