NAIROBI, September 12 – President Mwai Kibaki Friday appealed to oil marketing firms to reduce the local pump prices and reflect the drop in the international crude prices.
He said oil companies should promptly extend the benefits of falling prices to consumers in order to reduce the biting inflationary pressures.
“I would like to appeal to the local oil companies to be mindful of the heavy burden on the public when the international oil prices increase,” he stressed.
The President’s appeal came a day after the Energy Regulatory Commission said that pump prices should be Sh8 lower than their currently levels.
Oil prices in the global arena have significantly continued to fall in the last one month after soaring to a record high of about $147 per barrel in July.
They are currently at $102 per barrel although in the local scene, a litre of premium fuel has stagnated at an average of Sh108.
Local companies have on many occasions been accused of being quick to arbitrarily adjust the costs upwards but slow to match falling international crude prices.
The government has in the meantime ruled out resorting to price control although the Energy Act gives the Minister such powers.
Speaking during the official opening of the new Coca Cola regional Headquarters in Nairobi, the Head of State said he had instructed all players in the energy sector to work out ways of ensuring that Kenyans have access to affordable power.
He however observed that his administration had invested substantial amount of resources in the energy sector in order to ensure adequate power supply that is affordable to the majority.
“This financial year alone, we have allocated Sh4.5 billion for this purpose. Plans are also underway to generate up to 350 megawatts of power through the development of wind turbines east of Lake Turkana,” the President said.
At the same time, he called on the private sector to invest more resources for Research and Development and assured them that the government was allocating a significant amount of resources annually for the development and maintenance of universities and other research institutions.
He urged them to enter into partnerships with these research institutions in order to develop home-grown solutions to the various problems facing the population.
“Such partnerships will also ensure that our institutions of higher learning produce graduates who are conversant with the needs of Kenya’s economic sectors,” he noted.
During the same function, Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Uhuru Kenyatta asked investors to ensure that their products are of superior quality, so as to effectively compete in the international and regional markets.
Uhuru reiterated that the government would continue to engage the private sector to ensure that an enabling business climate prevails.