Kituo cha Sheria sues EPRA for retaining fuel cost above Sh200

A motorist fuels at a petrol station located along Koinange Street, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The battle on the high cost of fuel in the country has landed in court.

Kituo cha Sheria, a human rights group moved to court yesterday questioning EPRA’s decision to retain the cost of petrol and diesel above Sh200 despite the global prices reducing.

The case comes three days before the next review cycle which happens on the 14th.

 The current pump price for petrol is Sh217.36 while EPRA capped the retail price for diesel and kerosene at Sh203.47 and Sh203.06 respectively.

 Kituo’s lawyers John Khaminwa and John Mwariri told the court that EPRA turned a blind eye to the suffering caused by the high cost of fuel.

According to Khaminwa and Mwariri, the government was aware that international fuel prices had slumped significantly.

At the same time, the court heard that despite the global trend, EPRA’s reviews continue to hurt Kenyans.

The lobby insisted that there is no justification for the regulator to retain the high cost of fuel. Kituo accused EPRA of neglecting, refusing, or failing to stabilize fuel costs. It also accused the regulator of contributing to the hardships experienced by the majority of Kenyans.

According to Kituo, there are fears that the government intends to hike the price of petrol to more than Sh300 in the next review.

“The petitioner (Kituo) avers that the members of the public stand to suffer irreparable loss and great inconvenience if the respondents are not ordered to urgently perform their legal obligations to protect citizens from further suffering, slow economic growth, declining living standards, and high inflation thus infringing the aforesaid fundamental rights and freedoms,” argued Kituo lawyers.

When compared to her neighbours, Kenya has retained the highest price with close to Sh19 per litre of petrol while diesel is cheaper by Sh6.00

Kenya’s neighbour Tanzania announced a drop in fuel prices by at least 5.6 per cent. The cost of Petrol in President Samia Suluhu-led country traded below Sh 200.

However, EPRA announced a drop in petrol by partly Sh2.00.

Globally, oil prices recorded a decline. Brent crude was sold at USD 75.84 (Sh11,755.2) a barrel. This was a gain of USD 1.79b (Sh277, 45). However, this declined by 3.8 per cent.

In court, Kituo’s director Dr. Annette Mbogo said that the cost of fuel has a direct relation to the hiked price of staple food. According to her, the lives of hustlers are on the rim as they can barely meet the cost of their daily flour and afford to pay the fare to and from work.

 “The respondents have failed neglected and or refused to control and stabilize fuel prices thus leading to extreme hardship for many citizens. per the petroleum price review in October by the second respondent the price of fuel has gone up to Sh217 per litre of petrol which is already too high resulting in very high and unaffordable costs of basic commodities including all household goods such as unga, the staple diet of a majority of Kenyans among others,” said Mbogo

In the case, the human rights group sued Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir and Attorney General Justin Muturi.

Kituo asked the court to block EPRA from increasing the fuel beyond the current mark.

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