ELDORET, KENYA: The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has defended decision to hike fuel prices at a time many Kenyans are facing harsh economic times as a result of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenyans led by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) On Sunday condemned a move by EPRA to increase prices for petroleum products terming it 'insensitive' to the suffering population because it would lead to increased prices on other goods and services.
In a statement released early this week, Cotu stated that it is outrageous and insensitive for the authority to allow for increases of up to Sh 8.19, Sh 5.51 and Sh 5.32 per litre for Super Petrol, Diesel and Kerosene respectively thus leading to increased transport costs where workers will bear the extra costs.
"Cotu views this move by the Authority as an affront to workers and Kenyans as a whole and demand for the Energy Ministry's immediate intervention in the matter to avoid any imminent confrontation that the government is likely to attract from workers and the rest of the Kenyans," Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli said.
But EPRAs Acting Director General Daniel Bargoria said the decision to adjust the prices upwards was necessitated by the relaxation of the Covid-19 containment measures as economies globally were restarted.
“The matter of pricing is emotive and concerning to many Kenyans because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has slummed the economy. But after benchmarking globally the demand for crude oil has considerably risen leading to the high prices in its importation,” he said.
Speaking in Eldoret on Thursday after a consultative forum for the draft review of the legislative framework that regulates petroleum activities, Mr Bargoria said the landing prices of import crude oil was very competitive.
“Towards mid last year, there was a collapse in the price for crude oil globally. But now the demand for crude oil and petroleum products globally is high as a result of restart of world economies making us procure it at competitive prices,” he stated.
However, the director general said, there are consultations within the Ministry of Petroleum and the regulator on how to stabilise the pump prices going forward.
“Back in the 1980s the petroleum products were being sourced at a relative lower prices. We are finding a lasting solution to stabilise the pump to cushion the locals from fluctuating prices,” he said.