President Uhuru Kenyatta has capped the maximum retail price of 2-kilogramme packet of maize flour countrywide at Sh100.
This, he said, will help cushion Kenyans against high unga prices as the globe faces inflation and an increase in food prices.
During his address to the nation on Wednesday, July 20, the president said his government will pay Sh105 per 2-kg packet of maize flour in subsidy.
Kenyatta said the prices of unga must, therefore, retail at a maximum of Sh100 across the country following the roll-out of the subsidy programme, which lasts indefinitely.
The Head of State said the relief will help reduce the price of 2-kg packet of maize flour from Sh205 in retail stores across the country.
A spot-check by The Standard, however, revealed that a 2-kg packet of unga was retailing as high as Sh230 in some supermarkets.
In efforts to manage the prices of maize flour across the country, the president also announced suspension of Railway Development Levy and Import Declaration Fee on imported maize. The suspension lasts indefinitely.
Kenyatta also warned elective seat-seekers against politicising unga prices, saying the high cost of living is more of a global issue than a leadership-engineered crisis.
The president also accused a section of millers of hoarding maize flour, hoping to sell it at higher prices.
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This pattern, he said, was common in Kenya towards general elections, citing the 2013 and 2017 polls.
He said in the run-up to the March 4, 2013, General Election, the price of 2-kg packet of maize flour shot up from Sh70 to Sh130.
The hike, he said, also happened in 2017, when the price of 2-kg pack of maize flour rose from Sh100 to Sh189.
“Every election in this country has attracted ‘unga crisis’. In fact, there seem to be an engineered connection between elections and the high prices of unga. There is an obvious trend between the manner the price of unga goes up and the tempo taken by the election,” he said.
“Is this the result of a market dynamic or is it a deliberate outcome? This question must be posed and put to rest.”
The president has attributed the maize shortage in the country to poor rainfall, global inflation and the food crisis arising from the ongoing war in Ukraine.