Kenya’s cost of living has risen for the seventh straight month to hit 9.2 per cent in September as the cost of food, fuel and electricity squeezed consumers’ incomes further.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released yesterday showed that September inflation was up from 8.5 per cent recorded in August.
The latest rate of inflation is the highest in 63 months and also marks the fourth month running that the figure is in breach of the government’s desired range of between five per cent and 7.5 per cent.
“The rise in inflation was largely due to increase in prices of commodities under food and non-alcoholic beverages (15.5 per cent), transport (10.2 per cent) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (7.3 per cent),” said Macdonald Obudho, the KNBS Director General.
The price of a kilogramme of loose maize flour rose from Sh78.38 in August to Sh84.95 in September, making this commodity 48.7 per cent costlier than it was in the same month last year.
The price of diesel and petrol rose by 17.7 per cent and 12.6 per cent on slashed and removed State subsidies respectively. At Sh165.91 per litre, the price of diesel is 42.4 per cent more than it was in September last year while that of petrol is 32.8 per cent higher at Sh180.05.
Consumers suffered another setback after the energy regulator increased upwards the cost of electricity to reflect increased energy costs and the weakening of the shilling against the dollar.
“The rise in the cost of electricity was mainly driven by a 46.9 per cent increase in fuel energy cost,” said Mr Obudho in a statement, which indicated the price of 50-kilowatt electricity rose by 20.9 per cent.
The inflation rate was at 5.4 per cent in January and eased to 5.1 per cent in February before embarking on a sustained month-on-month rise that has only been softened by several government interventions such as subsidies on maize flour and fuel and tax cuts on cooking gas.