Inside Ruto's Plan to Allow Matatus to Convert Into Electric Vehicles

Photo collage between Super Metro bus and a BasiGO electric bus picking up passengers in Nairobi CBD
Photo collage between a Super Metro bus and a BasiGO electric bus picking up passengers in Nairobi CBD in November 2022.
Super Metro

President William Ruto will focus on providing incentives for Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) to enable them to convert into electric cars.

Through the Draft 2023 Budget Policy Statement released on Wednesday, January 18, the Head of State committed to providing financial and tax incentives for public service vehicles and commercial transporters to convert to electric vehicles.

Ruto's government stated that it would roll out charging infrastructure in all urban areas and along the highways to accelerate electric vehicle uptake.

A collage of electric buses operated by Roam Rapid and BasiGo in Nairobi CBD .jpg
A collage of electric buses operated by Roam Rapid and BasiGo in Nairobi CBD.
Super Metro, Rapid Roam

Towns set to benefit from the rollout include Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Eldoret, among other places the transport experts will select across the country.

The Kenya Kwanza administration also vowed to set up assembling plants in different parts of the country to encourage matatus to embrace electric vehicles.

Defending the move, Ruto's administration stated that electric buses would lower transport costs in the country.

"Accelerating transition to electric vehicles is a win-win proposition in terms of contributing to Kenyans emission reduction commitment, cheaper transport, and leveraging on the large local and regional motorcycle market to build an electric vehicle industry," the draft budget policy statement read in part.

According to the policy statement, which is set for public participation, the boda boda sector will also be included in the plan to shift from fuel-powered automobiles to embrace electric-powered ones.

"Leverage the financial support that will be provided to the bodaboda sector through the Hustlers Fund, to develop the nascent electrical vehicle (EV) and motorcycle assembly industry," the draft budget policy statement added.

The decision to fully embrace electric vehicles is also geared at addressing the fuel prices issue in the country. 

In order to stabilise consumer prices against unpredictable global oil prices, Ruto's government announced plans to set up a legal framework to ring-fence the Fuel Stabilisation Fund.

According to the budget policy statement, the Fuel Stabilisation Fund would help his government reduce importation costs.

Ruto scrapped the fuel subsidy programme on some petroleum products to address the fuel prices headache. The commander-in-chief had promised to withdraw the programme completely starting in January 2023.

However, in the recent price review announced by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), Ruto's administration retained a subsidy of Ksh25.13 per litre for Kerosene to cushion consumers from the otherwise high prices. 

At the moment, Super Petrol retails at Ksh177, Diesel at Ksh162, and Kerosene at Ksh145.9 per litre - the same prices as in December 2022.

A photo of matatus at a bus terminus
A photo of matatus at a bus terminus in Nairobi, Kenya.
Motor Trends