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Kenyans voiced fury on Thursday at the threatening hike in fuel prices, which is out to pile on the misery for a population already suffering economic hardship because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that fuel prices are now at record levels after the country’s energy regulator this week put an end to subsidies on petrol, diesel and kerosene that were introduced earlier this year to ease anger over the surging cost of living.
The East African economic powerhouse has suffered huge job losses as gross domestic product shrank last year for the first time in three decades, with Covid-19 battering usually strong sectors like tourism.
The removal of the subsidies, which took effect on Wednesday, increased the price of petrol in Nairobi by about six percent to a maximum of almost 135 shillings (about $1.20 or 1.00 euro) a litre.
And the cost is set to rise further with the introduction of a near five percent excise duty on fuel from October 1.
‘The increase in fuel is just ridiculous, it shows that the government is not in touch with the reality on the ground, how do they want us to survive,’ said James Mwangi, 42, a second-hand car dealer in Nairobi.
‘Any increase in fuel prices means an increase in many other things.’
Mercilyne Njeri, 35, who works at a five-star hotel in Nairobi, says she is already trying to survive on 60 percent of her usual salary.
‘The government is not realistic, you cannot increase fuel prices at a time we are suffering from tough economic times brought about by Covid-19 challenges.’
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, who is in open conflict with President Uhuru Kenyatta, criticised the decision, warning it will lead to a higher cost of living across the board.
‘This is mistaken in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he said, calling for the energy ministry and parliament to address the issue.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK