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Drop in fuel prices expected next week

Fuel prices have been on the rise in Kenya in 2011/ FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Kenyan motorists can for the first time in 12 months expect reprieve at the pump stations with the announcement of a Sh3 to Sh5 per litre drop in fuel prices next week.

This follows a revelation by the government that initial estimates by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) show that the prices, which will be announced on December 14, will come down by these margins.

“The Energy Regulatory Commission is finalising the computation of the pump prices and preliminary estimates show that the fuel prices will come down by between Sh3 and Sh5 per litre from December 15, 2011,” said Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike.

Fuel prices have been edging upwards from January 2011, with a litre of petrol going up by approximately Sh30 within the period.

A litre of super petrol has for the last one month been retailing at 124.50 in Nairobi, a situation that the ERC blamed on external and internal factors that have been beyond its control.

The upward movement in the prices has gone on despite the existence of the law capping the profit margins causing public uproar and calls for the ERC to be disbanded.

Where some reductions have been registered, they have mostly been negligible with many motorists complaining that the ‘cosmetic’ dips have not relieved the burden of their shoulders.

With next Wednesday’s anticipated reduction which will unfortunately bring the cost to around Sh120 per litre, many Kenyans will be hoping that it will mark the beginning of a trend in low fuel prices.

Besides the agony for motorists, high fuel prices have helped to drive up inflationary pressures which have had the negative effect on the economy.

Should they come down however, inflation can subsequently be expected to decline.

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Although a price reduction is welcome, many will be hoping that supply will be assured especially as the festive season approaches.

There has been a shortage in the last one week that was occasioned by the suspension of the loading of super petrol into the Kenya Pipeline Company systems following the vandalism of a 132 kV power lines tower supplying its pump station along the Mombasa Nairobi pipeline.

A similar shortage was also witnessed in cooking gas. But this should ease soon once a ship carrying 2, 500 Metric Tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) completes its discharge.

“Another ship carrying 1, 700 MT of LPG is waiting to discharge,” Nyoike added.

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