Govt's 6 Measures to Curb High Cost of Living

  • Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    File
  • The government now says it has put in place measures to cushion Kenyans from the tough economic times.

    Speaking to the press on Friday, July 1, government spokesman, Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, stated that the government has put in place six main mitigation measures including subsidies on some basic commodities to address the high cost of living in the country.

    The spokesperson noted that Kenyans will have to bear with the situation as the government works to implement the said subsidies.

    "The situation had been caused by a variety of factors which are mainly global. We are very concerned as the government is doing everything possible to help cushion our people," Oguna stated.

    Government Cyrus Oguna speaking during the a road safety awareness campaign along Mombasa Road on Friday February 25, 2022
    Government Cyrus Oguna speaking during a road safety awareness campaign along Mombasa Road on Friday, February 25, 2022
    Government Spokesperson

    The government expressed concern over the rise in retail prices of commodities such as maize and wheat flour, bread, cooking oils, potatoes, fuel prices, public transport fares, cooking gas and kerosene.

    The six mitigation measures put in place by the government are;

    1. Removal of import duty and levies on Maize

    The government has suspended all import duties and levies on imported white non-GMO maize imported into the country on or before August 6, 2022, and animal feed.

    Individual businessmen are free to bring in the maize to bridge the anticipated deficit of 2.2 million bags. The waiver is only for 540,000 metric tons (6 million bags) of white maize for the months of July and August before the next harvest. Millers and farmers have been urged to start sourcing the commodities immediately.

    A longer solution is on the course, as the government embarks on campaigns to expand the area under maize production through the Land Commercialization Initiative to boost production for both rain-fed and irrigated crops.

    2. Fertilizer and input subsidy

    The government released Ksh5.8 billion to subsidize fertilizer and other input costs to increase access by farmers so as to encourage higher yields and stabilize farm produce prices.

    Additional Ksh3.5 billion has been released to the tea and sugar sectors to help boost production and to pay farmers areas. Out of this, Ksh1 billion in fertilizer subsidy to tea farmers, Ksh1.5 billion to the sugar sector (factory maintenance and payment of
    farmers' areas), and Ksh1 billion to implement the interventions.

    3. Cooking Oils

    Oguna stated that a long-term solution is being sought to ensure self-sufficiency in palm oil production by increasing the number of palm tree planted in the western and coastal counties. He added that the government will promote the establishment of local oil processing plants.

    The government's spokesperson further added that there will be the promotion of local production of other oil crops such as sunflower and simsim as well as securing planting material for supply to farmers.

    4. Alternative markets for wheat

    The government has identified several countries as alternative sources of wheat saying no one can predict when the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will end. Millers are already importing wheat amounting to 2 million metric tons per month to meet local demand.

    5. Subsidy to stabilize the prices of fish

    To encourage fish farming and raise production, the government has provided Ksh3.2 billion for feeds, dam liners and predator kits, upgrading of fish landing facilities in different counties and training.

    6. Subsidy on fuel

    A fuel tanker on the highway
    A fuel tanker on the highway
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    Prices of crude oil have been rising steadily in the global market, impacting pump prices locally. The government says it has deployed a stabilization program to cushion Kenyans against the volatility in fuel prices by paying Ksh45.93 billion under the fuel subsidy program. A further Ksh20.85 billion was paid mid last month to help lower the prices.

    Speaking on why the cost of living has been on an upward trajectory, Oguna stated that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still felt, the prolonged drought and desert locust also affected the agriculture sector, the Ukraine - Russia conflict and the value of the shilling against the dollar.