While fuel adulteration is wrong and dangerous to fuel users and oil marketers, we do not support raising kerosene prices to curb the vice with offering the poor a cheaper cooking and lighting alternatives.
Kerosene prices are set to rise to the level of diesel as the government moves to prevent unscrupulous traders from using it to blend diesel and petrol for higher margins.
Rogue traders have been mixing kerosene with diesel and petrol in search for higher profit margins, egged on by the variation in prices.
Kerosene is currently priced at Sh20 and Sh30 below diesel and petrol respectively. Our take is the regulator should advocate for other means to tackle adulteration instead of punishing the poor.
This includes fuels marking and monitoring, which ensures that kerosene for domestic consumption has an invisible chemical marker. It should also advocate for the use of self-test kits that allow for testing of adulterated fuel at depots and stations.
However, we are not overlooking health costs of using the product for cooking and lighting.
A huge chunk of the poor should be converted to using gas and getting connected to the national power grid besides small solar lighting lamps to wean the poor from kerosene.