‘Kenya burns’ from artificial fuel shortage, hiked fuel prices

This could be said to be the week that majority Kenyans were most angry – at the artificial fuel shortage and resultant exorbitant fuel prices.

Nearly all parts of the country continue to feel the deep heat of unpredictable availability of fuel – and where available, the prices have been more than double and they are still rising.

Kenyans are angry at the government. Smarting from the Covid-19 pandemic economy straight into the petro-cartel economic crisis found many by surprise. Silence by government has become even worrying.

What began as a tussle between sulking and greedy Oil Marketing Companies (OMC’s) and the National Treasury over delayed subsidy payouts – soon engulfed the consumer. Transport and travelling became an immediate crisis for many – especially for millions of motor-cycles and passenger service vehicles, countrywide.

OMCs who import fuel, thanks to the opaque ‘open tender system’ , literally offloaded nearly 80 percent of their fuel to the black market. Desperate motor-cyclists and motorists have little choice – but continue to pay between Sh240 to Sh300 a litre (which goes for an average Sh140) to secure the rare commodity.

Kenya Pipeline Company, Saturday, confirmed that all their depots countrywide were full. Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) was non-committal on OMCs flouting their hoarding rules. The subtle threat of action from OMCs never moved them – after all they are protected by higher echelons of the Kenyan government.

When President Kenyatta, Monday, signed the Appropriation Bill from the Supplementary budget, the expected relief has been too slow to come by.

Meanwhile, consumer pain persists on fuel shortage and hiked fuel prices.

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