NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A queue stretching for up to 20 meters has become
a permanent feature every evening at a fuel station in Kayole, a
low income residential area in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Standing on the
queue are normally people of various ages holding small plastic
bottles seeking to buy kerosene.
The scene is
replicated to other suburbs across the East African nation, with
those in the countryside lining up at shops and tiny kerosene
points to buy the fuel used by millions of low income
which use the fuel mainly for cooking and lighting, are feeling
the pinch due to rise in the price of the commodity.
Until the third
quarter of 2017, a liter of kerosene in the East African nation
was retailing at an average of 0.6 U.S. dollars, offering a
reprieve to households.
But in the last five
months, the cost of the fuel, alongside petrol and diesel, has
been on the rise, peaking on Wednesday in a review by the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC).
ERC on Wednesday
increased the cost of kerosene by 0.02 dollars to 0.76 dollars
which is used mainly by commercial vehicles was increased by
0.02 dollars to 0.96 dollars and petrol by 0.01 dollars to 1
“The changes in this
month’s prices have been as a consequence of the average landed
cost of imported fuel, where petrol increased by 4.1 percent,
diesel 4.3 percent and kerosene 4.7 percent,” Pavel Oimeke, the
ERC director-general said in a statement on Wednesday.
zero taxes, the reason why its price increases are usually one
of the highest among the three fuels, according to the ERC.
review, the hardest hit by the price increases are the users of
kerosene, who are majorly low income earners.
Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) classifies low income families as
those that spend less than 275 dollars a month.
On the other hand,
middle income families spend between 275 dollars and 1,395
dollars while high income earners spend more than 1,406 dollars
A majority of those
who use kerosene fall in the low-income category, with the fuel
mainly used for cooking in towns and for lighting and cooking in
“An increase in
kerosene means more expenses for me because I now have to buy in
smaller quantities,” Simon Angatia, a stone mason who lives in
Kayole, said on Thursday.
“The kerosene, which
we use for cooking all our meals on a stove, initially lasted
three days. Before October, the same money would afford me a
liter of fuel but due to the rise this buys me less than
three-quarters of a liter. This means I have to buy the fuel
nearly daily,” he said.
The mason normally
returns home with about 4 dollars every time he goes for work at
“They pay us at most
6 dollars for a day’s work but part of the money goes to
transport. Then I have to buy food, save for rent and other
expenses. A rise in the price of kerosene is not good for people
like us,” he said, highlighting the plight of millions of small
Consumers living in
residential areas where there are no fuel stations nearby have
to spend more because they buy kerosene from shops that sell for
up to 1 dollar a liter.
Fuel stations use
the capped prices announced by ERC, therefore consumers get a
“I buy my kerosene
from the shop near my house and the shopkeeper sells half a
liter at 0.5 dollars while a liter goes for 0.9 dollars. This is
more expensive but we have no choice,” said Beatrice Namai, a
resident of Kitengela, adding that she hopes the cost would fall
in next review.
In rural Kenya, the
cost of the fuel rises further as traders have to factor in
transport costs, hitting consumers harder.
stood at 4.83 percent in January, up from 4.50 percent in
December, mainly due to increase in prices of food and energy
products. With rise in fuel cost, inflation is expected to
“Fuel prices certainly affect inflation, the reason why the cost
of the commodity is tracked by the statistics agency, KNBS. With
increase in fuel price, inflation is expected to rise, hitting
harder low income earners who have to spend more on kerosene,”
said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer in Nairobi.