'There is nothing we can do,' Energy CS Chirchir says on high fuel prices

Energy CS Davis Chirchir appearing before National Assembly Energy Committee at Parliament buildings, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir has urged Kenyans to brace for tougher times as the global pump prices continue to soar, saying there is nothing the government can do.

Chirchir told the National Assembly Energy Committee that the global dynamics governing fuel pricing heavily influence Kenya, a net importer of fuel, adding that other than the levies and taxes- the prices are purely controlled by international dynamics.

"We are dealing with several governments who are the suppliers of these products and we are likely to witness even harder times because these are prices presented by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and there is nothing much we can do," Chirchir said.

According to the CS, the fuel prices that have reached a historical all-time high, crossing the Ksh.200 mark per litre, have been factored in by a lot of other issues including the Russia-Ukraine war, reduced oil production, and refinery maintenance across the continent.

At the same time, the Energy CS added that the government has been shielding the citizenry compared to neighboring countries where the price per litre is more than Sh25 compared to the selling price in Kenya.

"Freight and premium charges were negotiated down from $97.5 per meter cube to $90. In our neighboring region, $260 is three times what we are paying in Kenya. If that was the case, we could be paying an additional Sh25 on top of the current prices," the CS stated.

According to data released by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the existing 16 percent VAT on petroleum products, road maintenance levy (pushed petrol and diesel prices up by Ksh.18 per liter), and anti-adulteration levy saw a liter of kerosene increase by Sh18 as the burden on fuel prices.

Other taxes that pushed the price of petroleum products upwards on Friday include exercise duty, petroleum development levy [previously servicing controversial fuel subsidy], railway development levy, and the import declaration fee.

In its latest price review, EPRA revised the prices upwards; Super Petrol by 16.96, Diesel by Sh21.32, and Kerosene by Sh33.13.

Already the new pump prices have been effected and Petrol is retailing at Sh211.64, diesel at Sh201, and Kerosene at Sh202.13 per litre in Nairobi.

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