On Friday, June 2, President William Ruto revealed a new plan aimed at lowering the skyrocketing fuel prices and offering a reprieve over the rising cost of living.
Speaking at Serena Hotel, Nairobi, in an event organised by businessmen, Ruto reiterated his plan to launch the e-mobility programme later this year.
He explained that the programme involves the adoption of electric buses and motorbikes with incentives for businessmen to install quality electricity charging stations across the country.
Defending the move, Ruto noted that the country spent Ksh69 billion monthly to import fuel from various countries. By shifting to electric power vehicles, Ruto noted that his government would slash that cost by half.
By his statement, Ruto implied that his government would save close to Ksh34 billion monthly, which could be directed toward lowering fuel prices and other areas of the economy to tackle the cost of living.
"In this year's Finance Bill, we have put the tax incentives you are asking for. I want to launch that programme (e-mobility programme) later this year and we want to transition from using fossil fuels (Diesel, Petrol kerosene) on our motorbikes and other wheelers.
"We are spending Ksh60 billion (USD 500 Million) monthly to import fuel products. We can save that by half if we the direction we have put in our Finance Bill this year," Ruto stated.
According to the Head of State, that would also help his administration find options for lowering the high fuel cost.
In the latest rates released by the Energy and Petroleum Authority of Kenya (EPRA) in May., Nairobi recorded the highest petrol prices increase to retail at Ksh182.70, Diesel increased to Ksh168.40, and Kerosene rose to Ksh161.13.
In Mombasa, Petrol, Diesel and Kerosene rose to Ksh179.86, Ksh165.57 and Ksh158.30, respectively.
Electric Vehicle Promise
His sentiments backed his Madaraka Day announcement on launching an electric vehicle public transport system. Ruto argued that the new transport system targeting public service vehicles would reduce fare prices significantly.
"As international petroleum prices continue to rise beyond reach, the cost of fuel locally rises steeply. As a component of household budgets, transport is affecting the cost of living.
"We have to liberate Kenyans from reliance on transport that depends on petroleum. For this reason, we are rolling out an electric vehicle public transport system which will bring down the cost of transport significantly," the Head of State announced at the event.
Besides saving Kenyans from high fuel costs, Ruto also announced plans to revive the leather industry to save parents from the high costs of acquiring shoes during admission.
Ruto lamented that Kenya's leather industry was operating well below its potential despite having the third-largest livestock population in Africa.
“We import shoes worth nine billion every year. Our leather industry has the capacity to deliver 80,000 jobs and 100 billion dollars. This is a gap we must close," he added
The President thus called on county governments and the private sector to join hands to develop the value chains.