Kenyan motorists cross into Uganda, TZ for cheap fuel

Scores of motorists and boda boda operators are
Scores of motorists and boda boda operators are moving to Uganda and Tanzania to fuel their vehicles. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan motorists near border towns in western Kenya are devising a new method of dodging the new fuel levy by filling at stations across the border.

In Busia and Malaba where Kenya has the most active border crossings, motorists have been flocking to Uganda to fuel their vehicles and motorcycles just a few days after the government imposed a 16 per cent value added tax on petroleum products.

Petrol prices at the pumps rose by about 12 per cent after the tax took effect unexpectedly on Saturday, angering many Kenyans who said they were already burdened by the high cost of living.

The Business Daily reporters in Busia saw a litre of petrol retailing at between Sh128 and Sh135, diesel at Sh118, and Kerosene 100. Yet just across the border in Uganda, petrol sells at USh4,080 (Sh110) with diesel retailing at USh3,750 (Sh 101) per litre.

It is the same on the Kenya-Tanzanian border in Migori. Scores of motorists and boda boda operators were moving to Tanzania to fuel their vehicles.

In Tanzania, a litre of petrol retails at Sh110 (Tsh2,500) compared to Sh135 per litre in Migori. A litre of diesel in Tanzania goes at Sh97 (Tsh1,850). Residents were also trooping to Sirare to buy kerosene for household consumption.

Gorge Otwane, a boda boda operator in Busia, said they had opted to fuel in Uganda to cut on costs.

The operators who easily traverse the border without much paperwork have the option of fueling in Kenya or Uganda.

“We are contemplating increasing town service charges from Sh50 to Sh100 if fuel prices will continue to retail at the new prices,” he said.