President William Ruto was on Monday, January 30, pressured to reintroduce subsidies that were initially put in place by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.
The plea was made by governance and legal expert Martin Oloo together with professor of management and leadership Gitile Naituli.
The duo made the plea when they appeared on the NTV's morning show AM Live.
Oloo remarked that reintroducing subsidies was the only feasible way Kenyans could be cushioned from the high cost of living.
“The price of commodities cannot go down because someone said it will go down once he puts down the Bible.
“Ruto must reintroduce the subsidies program as a reprieve to Kenyans,” Oloo remarked.
The governance expert further explained what was making the cost-of-living soar.
“We are grappling with a high cost of living due to external and internal factors.
“External factors include international conflicts and economic dynamics while internal include bad policies which fan borrowing,” he explained.
Oloo explained that Kenyans were not experiencing such hardships because they had been cushioned by the subsidy program.
“When the people are pinched, the government's response is either to reduce taxation or initiate an intervention.
“Subsidies is a mechanism for the national government to cushion her people in a manner that gives reprieve,” he remarked while pleading for the reintroduction of subsidies.
In support of the sentiments, Naituli remarked, “Without the program, prices of goods will continue going up and hustlers will not have money in their pockets.”
He remarked that the government was punishing Kenyans by removing the subsidy program.
“The government should avoid annoying business people and innocent Kenyans through such punitive measures,” Naituli piled pressure on Ruto’s government.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Prof XN Iraki who is an economist cautioned on the reintroduction of subsidies.
"Subsidies are effective in the short run but in the long run, they make prices go even higher," he explained.
Iraki added that should the Kenyan government reintroduce the program, it should only be done so as a stop-gap measure.
"Subsidies should only be used as first aid, the key to solving high cost of living is looking at the main causes of inflation," he remarked.
He added that the government needed to make the economy competitive as a measure of cushioning Kenyans from the high cost of living.
"This is because we have no control over external factors that disrupt our economy like the war in Ukraine or the adverse drought effect currently being experienced," he explained.
Ruto in his inauguration speech on September 19, 2022, announced he was going to do away subsidies initiated by the previous administration.
“My administration will put an end to subsidies because they are costing the government billions of shillings every month.
"In addition to being very costly, consumption subsidy interventions are prone to abuse, they distort markets and create uncertainty, including artificial shortages of the very products being subsidized," he defended his decision back then.