Letters

LETTERS: Monthly petroleum price reviews hurt workers

KENO

A pump attendant adjusts prices on monthly review. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The monthly review of the fuel prices and products by the Energy Regulatory Commission is deeply hurting the Kenyan worker.

The spirit behind the formation of the ERC was good and well intended but the monthly review is a painful pinch for an already overburdened Kenyan worker.

It does not reflect the mileage rates for workers, for example, whose rates are fixed for a very long time and cannot be changed, for example, since it is usually negotiated during CBA.

The ERC should consider the Kenyan worker through engagement with the employers and other stakeholders for purposes of understanding the needs and how an upward review will impact these people’s lives.

The latest review with the intended 16 per cent VAT will even hurt more the Kenyan motorist and even the public transport given that now matatu operators have issued a fare increase notice.

Even with the VAT intended being a financial condition by the IMF to improve domestic revenues and control the public debt, it is not a reasonable ground for inflicting more pain on the Kenyan consumer and worker.

There are other better ways of improving domestic revenue and controlling the corruption that has choked the nation.

The war that has been declared by the President is one such good way of controlling revenue loopholes.

The price of petrol is now hitting 48-month high, which is now above Sh100 and going higher will have a snowballing effect across the economy.

READ: Petrol price to hit Sh130 as VAT charge kicks in

Petroleum products will hit the highest in Kenya this month, contradicting the favourable economy that Kenyans have been promised by the government.

It is even more complicated since Kenya is now an oil producing nation the disruptions notwithstanding.

The regulator is bending too much on price control and doing little to protect the consumer from unfriendly prices.

The regulator has always increased the prices by an average Sh5 but reductions are minimal, for example Sh0.51.

It should desist from citing average landing cost as the basis for increase because even when the landing cost was low, they never reduced the prices significantly.

The intended VAT should not be implemented at all and the regulator should control and regulate the prices with a view of reducing the burden on employees and public transport users, indeed taxpayers, who are the hardest hit.