Government Announces New Fuel Prices
The Kenyan government has announced that it will subsidise the retail price of fuel for the next 30 days, following months of protests and discontent over the high cost of living.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said on Monday that the maximum retail price of a litre of petrol would remain at 194.68 shillings ($1.35), instead of increasing by 7.33 shillings ($0.05) as previously planned. The government will cover the difference through a price stabilisation fund.
The same subsidy will apply to kerosene and diesel, EPRA said, without giving a reason for the policy change. Officials from EPRA, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Treasury and Economic Planning did not respond to requests for comment.
The decision marks a U-turn by President William Ruto, who scrapped fuel and maize flour subsidies when he took office in September last year, saying he preferred to support production rather than consumption.
Ruto also increased taxes this year as part of his efforts to reduce government spending and debt, which have raised concerns about a possible default.
However, these measures have sparked public anger and violent demonstrations across the country, as many Kenyans struggle to cope with rising inflation and unemployment.
In July, the government pushed through a controversial law that doubled the fuel tax, which led to more protests and calls for Ruto’s resignation.
The protests were suspended last month after Ruto agreed to hold talks with the opposition, which had challenged the legality of the law in court.
The fuel subsidy is expected to ease some of the pressure on consumers for the next month, but it is unclear whether it will be extended or whether the government will address other issues raised by the protesters.