Kenyans suffer from high cost of living despite price control law
By Allan Mungai | May 16th 2017
Kenyans continue to suffer due to high food prices despite a law that gives the Government power to set the prices of essential commodities.
The Price Control (Essential Goods) Bill was signed into law by former president Mwai Kibaki in 2011 to cushion citizens from high cost of living.
Faced with an unprecedented situation, Parliament passed the Bill sponsored by former Mathira MP Ephraim Maina six years ago, making it mandatory for the Government to set the prices of essential commodities.
The Bill was, however, amended on the president's recommendation before it was signed into law. Had it been signed as it was originally passed, the minimum and maximum prices of maize, maize flour, cooking oil, sugar, paraffin, diesel, and petrol would have been subject to the determination by the Government.
The revised version excluded blanket price controls.
"The minister (Finance) may from time to time, by order in the Gazette, declare any goods to be essential commodities and determine the maximum prices of the commodities in consultation with industry players," it said.
Speaking to The Standard, Maina, the architect of the Bill, who is also the Jubilee nominee for the Nyeri senatorial seat, said the Government has the tools to tame the increasing cost of living.
"It is time the Government exercised that option. The law gives Treasury the option to fix the maximum price of essential goods. It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that basic commodities are available to the citizens at affordable prices," Maina said.
Under the Price Control Act, the Finance minister can declare commodities essential and consult with the industry to set their price.
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