Design better tools to deal with cost of living


Packets of sugar being sold at a Naivas Supermarket, Nairobi on May 16, 2023. PHOTO | BONFACE BOGITA | NMG

Inflation is rising again after increasing marginally in May by 0.1 percentage point on soaring food, energy and transport costs, reversing a temporary decline.

Data released on Wednesday night shows that the rate stood at eight percent from 7.9 percent in April when it had declined to a 10-month low at the onset of rains.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that the increase has been triggered by the price changes in food, energy and transport, which cover about 57 percent of household budgets.

These rose to 10.2 percent, 9.7 percent and 10.1 percent respectively.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which make up the energy index, and transport were fuelled by an increase in the cost of petroleum products, with petrol, diesel and kerosene prices hitting an average of Sh183.29, Sh169.10 and Sh161.83 per litre countrywide respectively.

High sugar costs compounded the food and non-alcoholic beverages index, rising by 49.2 percent year-on-year and by 22.1 percent month over month, to average Sh194.29 in May from Sh159.10 in April.

Worse, the cost of electricity has soared by 67 percent in the past nine months, making the cost of doing business unbearable even as companies prepare to deal with a new round of tax-related costs in the Finance Bill.

The rise in inflation points to the fact that government interventions are either negligible or need remodelling. All policymakers should sit to come up with harmonised tools supporting the goal of containing the cost of living.