President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued a final directive on maize flour price amid a crisis which has seen the cost go past the Ksh200 mark.
Speaking at State House on Wednesday, July 20, Uhuru directed that the government would offer subsidies that will see the cost of maize flour reduced to Ksh100 per 2Kg pack with immediate effect.
The President also suspended the Import Declaration Fee (IDF) imposed on imported maize as well as the Railway Development Levy on the same.President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation on July 15, 2022 at State House, NairobiPSCU
Uhuru issued the following directive:
1. The railway development levy on all imported maize stands suspended
2. The import declaration fee on all imported maize is also hereby suspended
3. Maize flour shall retail at Ksh100 down from Ksh205 for a 2kg packet until otherwise directed
The President spoke in the company of stakeholders including Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya, and maize millers, who agreed to comply with the government directive.
He pointed out that in July 2012, the price of a 2kg packet of Unga shot up from Ksh70 to Ksh130. In May 2017, the price shot up to Ksh189 and currently the price has shot up again to Ksh205.
"Every election in our country has attracted an Unga crisis and at times it seems to be engineered. There is an obvious trend between the manner with which the price of Unga goes up and the tempo is taken up during elections," Uhuru stated.
During his speech, President Kenyatta suggested that the surge in Unga prices is partly motivated by profit motives from the millers.
He further stated that crop failure, locust invasion, logistic challenges as a result of COVID-19 and the prevailing war in Ukraine have pushed the cost of basic food items beyond the reach of vulnerable groups.
Uhuru appealed to the millers to put aside their differences and consider the local mwananchi who is being hurt by the current Unga prices.
"This moment requires us to act in unison in order to cushion the vulnerable in our society, as we continue to work out how to find sustainable means of dealing with this emerging trend," the head of state remarked.
"If my appeal to the millers is to practice a reasoned level of social ethics, my appeal to the political class is to exercise civic responsibility. To politicize the pain of the vulnerable without offering solutions is to mock the lifestyle of the same voters the politicians are appealing to," he added.President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at an event at State House Nairobi on June 14, 2022.PSCU
Earlier, Munya's Ministry drafted an agreement with millers on the same subsidies but the millers were reluctant in signing the deal until the government showed commitment.
The price of maize flour had hit an all-time high as a result of a severe shortage of local stocks caused by the ongoing drought in the horn of Africa among other areas.
CS Munya had revealed that importing the cereal was too expensive for local millers which may force some either to halt production or increase prices.
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