East African Center For Law & Justice


High Cost of Living

The high prices of fuel in Kenya have resulted in high cost of living since the prices of fuel determine the prices of most commodities. The government has been blamed for not cushioning its citizens against the high costs despite the attempts by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to lower the prices.
The matter has been discussed in Parliament, placing the ministry of Energy on the spot for not taking the required measures to ensure that the prices are regulated. According to MP Martha Karua, the Energy Act that was passed as supposed to protect the interests of the consumers, investors and other stake holders but instead it is protecting the interests of the cartels.
Demonstrations have been held in different parts of the country and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has threatened to call for a national strike if the government does not work to cushion the consumers against high cost of living. The secretary explained that the Union did not take part in the demonstrations as it was negotiating with the Government. They made known their demands which included a
demand to have the minimum wages revised upwards by 60% and the general wage by 10%.
Even though the matter was taken to Parliament for discussion, blame was shifted from one person to the other which made the search for solutions a difficult thing to accomplish. However the MPs urged the government to offer subsidies on essential commodities, lower the fuel levy to ensure a substantial decrease in the petroleum prices and also improve oil storage facilities to cut on shipping costs that are later passed to the consumer.
The Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi was also put on the spot after Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba stated that the situation was an artificial crisis, since the Energy minister acknowledged inefficiencies in the oil sector and poor facilities which he blames for the mess.

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