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Kenyans spend more on basic commodities

Kenyans spend more than half of their earnings on basic needs such as food, housing and clothing; leaving them with very little to save and invest in business.

Statistics show that Kenyans spent 56.8 per cent of total incomes on essential items, up from 55.7 per cent in 2011.

Expenditure on food took the lion’s share of household budget at 47.4 per cent, making agriculture performance a key tool in lifting the well-being of Kenyans on lower diet costs.

The new administration is targeting to boost food production through provisions of inputs and irrigation to lower living costs and reduce the clamour for wages to compensate for the rising cost of living.

Kenya’s inflation is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture and poor weather led to expensive milk, vegetables and cereals.  

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“The expenditure shares of the listed categories remained fairly stable with food accounting for the largest proportion in total private final consumption,” says the Economic Survey 2013.

Kenyans last year spent Sh1.26 trillion on food, and this accounted for 37 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The higher spending on essential items has left Kenyans with little money to spend on luxuries and savings—which dropped two per cent last year to Sh419 billion.

Housing accounted for 6.8 per cent of household budgets, up from 6.6 per cent last while clothing and footwear took 2.6 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in 2011.

Inflation rates peaked at 18.31 per cent in January 2012, wiping away savings accumulated by individuals who had to dig dipper into their pockets to buy gods and services. However, the cost of living measure has eased to 4.14 in April this year.

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