Kenya is witnessing a sharp rise in fuel prices, surpassing the KSh 200 ($1.36) mark, as global petroleum product costs soar, coupled with increased landed expenses. The latest announcement by the country’s regulator has left many citizens dismayed, and it follows nationwide protests against high living costs and government economic policies in recent months.
President William Ruto’s administration had previously signaled a transition to electric motorbikes as a response to escalating fuel expenses and growing environmental concerns. However, the pump prices of oil are expected to surge by KSh 10 each month until February 2024, according to a statement made by Moses Kuria, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Investments, Trade & Industry of The Republic of Kenya.
Taking to his X (formerly Twitter) page, Kuria warned Kenyans to brace themselves for the impending fuel price hikes. “Global crude prices are on an upward trajectory. For planning purposes, expect pump prices to go up by KSh 10 every month till February,” he tweeted.
The news of the highest fuel prices in recent memory has sparked outrage across the nation. Overnight, the cost of petrol in the capital city of Nairobi surged to approximately 212 shillings ($1.40; £1.20) per liter, with different fuel types witnessing an increase of around 9% to 20%.
President Ruto’s decision to eliminate fuel subsidies shortly after taking office in September has added to the mounting economic challenges faced by the Kenyan population.
As frustrations continue to mount, David Ndii, chief economic adviser to President Ruto, addressed the situation on X (formerly Twitter), acknowledging the difficulty ahead. “It’s going to be ‘painful’ and ‘it may not work,'” Ndii stated, while cautioning against false hopes. His comments have triggered widespread discussions on social media, with Kenyan citizens expressing their discontent over the government’s handling of the crisis.
“[Mr.] Ndii has told us the bitter truth that we are repugnant fools and stupid morons for having believed that people who used a wheelbarrow as a party symbol had any idea of fixing the country. It is our fault for believing them,” remarked one Kenyan on X.
Another individual noted the disproportionate impact on the less affluent segments of society, saying, “Matatus [public minivans] use diesel, which is the means of transport for the poor, [and it] has gone up by 21.32 shillings. The poor majority use kerosene, [which] has gone up by 33.13 shillings…”
With fuel costs hitting unprecedented levels and public discontent escalating, Kenya faces a challenging road ahead in managing its economic crisis and addressing the concerns of its citizens.