Kenyans happy with lower fuel costs

April 28, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – The government\’s move to cushion the vulnerable against rising cost of living by waiving  taxes and levies on kerosene has been lauded by a number of Kenyans.

A few who spoke to Capital News welcomed the move describing it as an indication of the government\’s concern on their plight. They said that it will help make their lives bearable.

"The move will significantly reduce the anxiety and hence the feeling that people are living beyond their means," stated Stephen Otieno, an Accountant in Nairobi. "I think it is going to help us because basic commodities are now going to be cheap as a result of removal of taxes."

"At the moment the situation is still a bit tricky. Let us give it some time and see how it is going to develop," added Richard Mwangi, a businessman.

They however insisted that a lot more needs to be done to ensure that no Kenyan suffers as a result of the cost of living.

"When it comes to transport, the cost of fuel is high. If that can be reduced, it will be okay," said Esther Wanjiru, an engineer. "The basic needs and commodities are what need to be cut down completely."

"When people do not have jobs, then there is still a problem in the long term; I think that is what needs to be focused on," she added.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya has, in the meantime, suspended any further demonstrations on fuel and food prices following the government\’s announcement on the reduction of taxes on fuel.

In a press statement, Secretary General Stephen Mutoro said this would allow for consultations to take place between the Federation and the government on the cost of living in the country.

He further said that the decision was taken following a successful three-hour meeting on Wednesday with Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike, Energy Regulatory Commission Director General Kaburu Mwirichia, Kenya Power and Lighting Company Managing Director Joseph Njoroge and other high ranking Ministry of Energy officials.

He however pointed out that the reductions announced by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday were not enough to offer sufficient reprieve to the consumers and said that the organisation had also requested a meeting with the Prime Minister\’s office to explore further cuts on petrol prices.

The government on Wednesday bowed to public pressure and moved to cushion vulnerable Kenyans against the rising cost of living, with Prime Minister Raila Odinga announcing a further reduction on the price of kerosene by Sh5.66 per litre.

Mr Odinga told Parliament on Wednesday that the government had removed all taxes and levies on kerosene, following an earlier 30 percent cut on excise tax announced last week by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

However the measures announced will require Parliament\’s approval through a Motion to be tabled in the House next week.

Mr Odinga told Parliament that the decision was reached because increased food prices were responsible for the 60 percent of the total inflation in the country.

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