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Editorials

EDITORIAL: Ease pain of mounting fuel prices for consumers

An attendant fuels a vehicle
An attendant fuels a vehicle. file PHOTO | NMG   

Just when fuel consumers thought that there was a ray of hope in the horizon, the recent monthly price review rudely dashed those expectations.

Fuel prices hit a 44-month in the price schedule announced by the Energy Regulatory Commission last week. Consumers are now set to bear the brunt of the rise as the cost of goods mounts.

The average cost of imported super petrol rose by 2.8 per cent in the period that the cargo was sourced while diesel was up 8.9 per cent. Diesel went up Sh4.96 to Sh103.60 per litre while petrol rose Sh1.64 to Sh108.81 a litre.

In the latest review, the regulator said that the prices were in tandem with higher fuel prices in the global market when the product was sourced.

It attributed the increase to the rising cost of importing the commodity, which is pegged on prevailing market prices at the time of purchase.

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The stage has now been set for biting inflationary pressure on consumers as manufacturers will not bear the rising costs alone but will pass on the burden to the consumers.

The transport and agricultural sectors did not fare any better as increased prices of diesel, which is their main component, will ultimately result in higher charges that will ultimately be borne by the general consumer.

At the lower strung of the social strata, poor households were not spared either as the price of kerosene shot up by Sh5.88 to Sh84.10 a litre. The low income households use the fuel for lighting and powering their cooking stoves.

We opine that the impact of fuel increases needs to be addressed urgently if we are to ease the pinch of rising inflation. The constant rises coupled with static wages only add to the pain experienced by majority of Kenyans.

It is a well known fact that fuel prices have a direct bearing on inflation given that it is one of the items in the basket of goods and services whose pricing is tracked in measuring the cost of living. The ball is now on the government’s court to ensure that it eases the cost of living.

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