Kenyans feel heat of increased fuel prices

The increase occurred at the same time that schools were shutting down, which caused a greater number of children to get stranded at bus stops across the nation while they waited for their parents to supplement the money they had saved to enable them to travel home for a one-week break.

Engineer Dzombo Mbaru, CEO of Mardin Energy Ltd, said in order to address the fuel problem, the government must exert control over the multinational corporations that control the fuel market and seek to improve the variables in the pricing formula and tax indices.

He said this will enhance the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy's capacity to align the relevant parastatals under its watch.

"We are aware the subsidy programme cushioned consumers from paying higher fuel costs by compensating part of margins earned by oil marketing companies (OMCs) through collections from the petroleum development levy (PDL) and other treasury budget appropriations but that can never be the long-lasting solution," he said.

Mbaru said the government needs to extend logistics, storage and distribution in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya and the Kenya Pipeline Corporation.

"We also need to upgrade the dormant Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) on refining and harvest the synergies from the new Kipevu Oil Terminal(KOT) and the Kenya Oil Storage Facility (KOSF) and if it is proven not viable, the government needs to work on the proposed Lamu Merchant refinery through the LAPSSET corridor'," he added.

Yesterday, certain public transportation systems operating on the Nyeri-Nakuru route raised bus prices from Sh500 to Sh700 while charging between Sh150 and Sh200 on some routes.

Long lines could be seen at fuel stations in Nyeri, Othaya, and Karatina due to a lack of kerosene. A resident of Karatina town named Joan Mwangi said she travelled a great distance looking for kerosene in vain.

"I had to travel to town to find kerosene because the neighbourhood stores didn't have it. I have not yet found the two litres I had hoped for."

Customers had to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the commodities when fuel stations in Meru county raised the pricing of a variety of goods.

In Meru town, drivers said they planned to wait and watch before deciding whether to leave their cars at home.

The cost of living will be affected by the increase in fuel prices, says boda boda rider Emanuel Ekuku in Nakuru town.

"Bus fares and food costs will automatically increase. It has come at the wrong time since, starting September 26, parents must pay school fees." Chairman of 4NTE Matatu Sacco Wilfred Kimotho says they will unquestionably be required to raise prices on all routes.

His Nuclear investment matatu Sacco counterpart Samuel Kamau echoed the same sentiments. "We will now be charging Sh600 for a passenger travelling from Nyahururu to Nairobi. This issue has really affected our business," he said.

Borehole drillers from Laikipia also said they will be forced to hike their prices.

"We rely on fuel to do our businesses. Once the price is hiked, we also hike ours," said John Muriithi.

Petrol stations in Malindi reviewed prices upwards from Sh157 to Sh177.90.

The chairman of the Malindi Tuktuk Operations Umbrella Abdala Mwangi said the fares within Malindi town will be Sh100 up from Sh50 while passengers travelling outside Malindi in a 23km radius will now pay Sh150 from Sh100.

In Migori, several motorists crossed over the porous Tanzanian border to buy cheap fuel with some traders also taking advantage of the hike to ferry in fuel from Tanzania.

Several motorists in Nyamira were left stranded as a result of a fuel shortage that hit the region moments after the new prices were released.

Report by Yvonne Chepkwony, James Munyeki, Phares Mutembei, Nehemiah Okwemba, Anne Atieno, James Omoro, Eric Abuga, Stanley Ongwae, Lynn Kolongei, Edward Kosut and Martin Ndiema