The price of basic food stuffs and fuel has hit an all time high. Cost of living is evidently too high and most Kenyans are just not able to bear the burden. Legislatures have blamed ‘grand corruption’ in the fuel sector. Many people are not happy and they have been on the receiving end regarding inefficiency in the fuel and energy sector in Kenya. A petition from the Consumer Federation of Kenya was tabled by Hon Ababu Namwamba asking the government to take charge of the situation.
According to the MPs, there is grand corruption in the two corporations given the duty of regulating fuel prices in the country. The two are National Oil Corporation of Kenya NOCK and Energy Regulatory Commission. The institutions were said to have failed in their ultimate mandate to shield the country from crisis regarding fuel prices. According to Budalangi MP, there is a ‘cartel of oil marketers’ who have been tolerated by the regulators. He blamed this click of ‘oil marketers’ on the high prices of fuel that seem to go up by the hour.
“I submit that today Kenyans are paying the price of grand corruption. Until and unless we slay this vampire of corruption, we’ll continue paying its high price,” Mr Namwamba said. According to him, there were inter-ministerial recommendations that were made in 2006 (by a task force) that were completely ignored by the government. The task force recommended among other things discouragement of oil marketers from forming monopolies since they imported, distributed and retailed the oil. In many ways, we are still at the mercy of these marketers since they run the show.
Attempts by Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta to bring down the price of kerosene by Ksh 2 which had gone up by Ksh 9 were not enough to convince Kenyan’s as echoed by Gichugu MP Martha Karua. Other recommendations that had been made to regulate the oil sector are the establishment of a Price Stabilization Fund while regulating Petroleum Refineries Limited and Kenya Pipeline Corporation.
In his defense, energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi spoke of their move to waiving excise duty which they have done. He admitted that there is massive inefficiency in the bodies involved in managing oil in the country but added that his ministry is working to address these issues.