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ENERGY REFORMS

Matiangi puts Kenya Power officials accused of stonewalling reforms on notice

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 13 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has fired a warning shot at top Kenya Power managers accused of frustrating ongoing reforms at the power utility firm.

Matiangi warned the unnamed officials after the steering committee on implementation of the report on the Presidential Task Force on Review of Power Purchase Agreements complained that the officials were unwilling to cooperate with them.

“In the coming days you will see significant changes in the sector and in the cost of fuel and power. We want to streamline and bring greater efficiencies in the manner in which these organizations works. It becomes necessary to do this so that we address strategic objectives in developing our country in ensuring that we address the challenges such as the high cost of living in the country,” he said on Wednesday following the inauguration of the committee.

Consequently, Matiangi cautioned that managers who will be found subverting proposed reforms will be sacked, arrested and prosecuted for “criminal sabotage.”

The Committee appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and chaired by John Ngumi, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Kenya Pipeline, is expected to submit its report by December 2021.

Matiangi who chairs the Cabinet sub-committee on Kenya Power and Lighting Company maintained that the government is committed to reduce the cost of power in the country that has been blamed on the mismanagement at the utility firm.

“We are in the right track on this and it is going to be a day to day assignment that will see us working almost on a 24/7 hour basis,” he said.

A security team drawn from various agencies has since been established to support the reform team in executing its agenda.

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Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma who inaugurated the committee assured that reforms in the energy sector will bear substantial fruits.

“We have gone through the roadmap of that implementation and I am satisfied that we are going to deliver on the strategic guidance of the President. All stakeholders are on board and the Ministry will take the lead in making sure that this implementation is done and the effect of it is felt by the Kenyan citizens,” she said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta formed a Cabinet Sub Committee in February to assess the running of KPLC with the aim of, among other things, coming up with solutions to permanently address the high cost of fuel in the country.

The reforms follow months of sustained criticism on government over the high cost of energy, including fuel.

All eyes will be on the Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (EPRA) on Thursday when the agency releases its monthly review of fuel prices.

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.

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