What you need to know:
- Union says the government announcement to discontinue fuel subsidy programme could worsen the situation.
- On Tuesday, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) increased pump prices by Sh9 per litre.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) has raised concerns over the sharp increase of the cost of basic commodities, saying it could affect service delivery in public service.
As one of the key players in the provision of government services, the union has also underscored the need for the government to cushion consumers from skyrocketing prices.
“As a matter of urgency, the government should address the prevailing high consumer prices, issue pay hikes and review of some retrogressive policies,” the union's deputy national organising secretary, Wilson Asingo, said.
Coupled with measures that has seen imposition of higher taxes, Asingo pointed out that prices have risen across a broad spectrum of goods and services and adversely impacted the cost of living, especially for the low-earning civil servants and those on low income.
“Besides the increased cost of transport, the intermittent rise in the price of oil and gas has seen the spike in food prices and pushing the budgets of majority of households beyond the bearable limits,” he noted.
Mr Asingo said the cost of living is becoming unbearable coupled with the prices of commodities such as bread, maize flour, cooking oil, cooking gas and house rent.
He called on the government to review commuter allowance to enable civil servants to comfortably work and deliver on their mandate.
“As government workers who provide critical services to the general public, the government should urgently do something to ensure efficient delivery of government services,” Mr Asingo said.
He noted that the recent government announcement to discontinue fuel subsidy programme could worsen the situation, which is already getting out of hand.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Monicah Juma, while announcing the move on Thursday, attributed it to the spike in global prices of crude oil.
Noting that Kenya has spent Sh67 billion to stabilize pump prices in the current financial, the CS said this has strained the fuel stabilisation fund due to the sharp rise in compensation to keep pump prices low.
“It is difficult to sustain it (subsidy) to the extent that we would have liked. So far we have spent Sh67 billion and this will rise to Sh84 billion by end of the current fiscal year,” Dr Juma said.
On Tuesday, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) increased pump prices by Sh9 per litre, pushing the cost of super and diesel to Sh159.12 and Sh140, respectively in Nairobi — the highest in Kenya’s history.