NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 7 – The government has pledged a slight reduction in fuel prices when the Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (EPRA) concludes its monthly price review on October 14.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi gave the assurances on Thursday after meeting with officials from the Kenya Power and Lightening Company (KPLC) and those drawn from the Ministry of Energy and the National Treasury.
“As a result of the many actions that have been taken you will see some reductions in the cost of fuel as we go forward. I mean government never makes promises in vain, we have been working on this and we have sincerely heard the cries of our citizens,” he said.
In its September review, EPRA hiked pump prices by a Sh9.5 shillings average with the prices for super petrol, diesel and kerosene subsequently going up by Sh7.58, Sh7.94, and Sh12.97 per litre respectively in Nairobi.
The regulator had imposed consecutive hikes in April, May, and June after which the prices remained unchanged for two months as a result of retention of the fuel costs.
President Uhuru Kenyatta formed a Cabinet Sub Committee in February to assess the running KPLC with the aim of, among other things, coming up with solutions to permanently address the high cost of fuel in the country.
Matiangi noted that the government is fully cognizant of the challenges that Kenyans are facing owing to the increase of prices of petroleum and petroleum products and committed to providing permanent solutions.
“We live in the same country and we pay the same high bills that the rest of the Kenyans are paying but I want to assure Kenyans that the government is committed to address the issue,” he said.
With the committee working round the clock to come up with the solutions and present a report to President Kenyatta in December, Matiangi also announced the suspension of ongoing and pending negotiations with independent power producers in line with recommendations of a task force which presented its report on September 29.
He noted that the government will be prioritizing review of existing power purchasing agreements in a bid to lower the cost of electricity procured by KPLC.
To foster transparency at the power utility firm, Matiangi also announced that a multi-agency team comprising of the DCI, Financial Reporting Center (FRC), Assets Recovery Authority and other investigative agencies will be assembled to investigate alarming system losses within KPLC, procurement practices, insider trading, conflict of interests and suspect transactions involving KPLC staff and others.
“Work has started now to deal with the challenges in this sector with the aim of ensuring that we reduce the cost of power. We are all concerned and the President himself is also concerned,” he said.
A meeting of all state agencies in the energy sector is to be convened urgently to synergize and align the country’s demand-vs-supply needs of the country and to work out modalities of bringing down energy costs.
Parliament is also looking into the issue with the National Assembly Committee on Finance expected to table a report before the House attached with a draft Bill that is aimed to guide the review on the taxation of petroleum and petroleum products.