Kenyan motorists flock Tanzanian border for cheaper fuel, lampoon government’s insensitivity
Outcry has trailed the hike in pŕices of fuel in Kenya, East African biggest economy.
The hike has seen the price of petrol shoot to the Sh130.11 mark per litre in Migori town, pushing it to a nine-year high at a time when Kenyans are grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Diesel is retailing at Sh120.26 while kerosene shot to Sh99.07.
Motorists in Migori County are now driving to neighbouring Tanzania in droves for cheaper fuel following high prices introduced by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) penultimate Sunday.
Stung by the high prices, motorists from Kisii, Homa Bay and Migori counties are using porous borders to access the precious commodity that retails more cheaply in the neighbouring country.
In Tanzania, super petrol is being sold at between Sh93 and Sh94, diesel at Sh90.12 while kerosene trades at Sh88.32.
‘Government is insensitive’
“It is cheaper buying across the border where a litre goes for Sh93 as compared to Kenya where the same amount goes for between Sh128 and Sh130. We will continue buying the commodity in Tanzania since our government is insensitive to our plight,” Mr Peter Onyonka, a motorist, told the Nation.
The scramble has seen Isebania town abuzz with activity with motorists crossing over to Sirare town with 20-litre jerricans to buy fuel, which they later sell to Kenyan consumers.
“If the government will not review the fuel hike then we will build the economy of Tanzania and that will be a big blow to the country’s revenue,” said a motorist.
Bodaboda riders also expressed concerns over the increased fuel prices, noting that their clients are insisting on fixed charges.
“We find it difficult to convince our clients who insist on the normal fares when we double the charges due to the fuel price hikes. The majority feel we are exploiting them,” said Mr James Owino, a rider in Migori town.
On Tuesday, the energy regulator defended itself over the latest shocking fuel price hike following a public outcry.
This has put pressure on the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra), which is legally mandated to announce monthly fuel price reviews, with demands to reverse the increments and to suspend the new prices.
The agency argued that it determines the prices using a predetermined formula, which is enshrined in law.
Epra said the pricing of petroleum in Kenya is undertaken in accordance with the Energy (Petroleum Pricing) Regulations, 2010, adding that the country imports refined petroleum products for local consumption.
“The regulations detail a formula for determining the landed cost of imported petroleum products and thereafter other costs along the petroleum supply chain are added to arrive at the pump price,” Epra said in a statement.
“Such incremental costs include storage and distribution costs, supplier margins and taxes and levies,” read the statement.
It added that importation of super petrol, diesel and kerosene into Kenya is undertaken through the Open Tender System (OTS) pursuant to Legal Notice No.24 of 2012.
Average landed cost
For the January to March 2021 period, the agency said the average landed cost of imported super petrol increased by 38.41 per cent from Sh36.01 per litre to Sh49.84 per litre.
Diesel increased by 26.68 per cent from Sh36.96 per litre to Sh46.82 per litre while that of kerosene increased by 27.97 per cent from Sh33.57 per litre to Sh42.96 per litre.
Taxes and levies contributed 46.68 per cent of the pump price of super petrol in March 2021, 42.23 per cent of that of diesel and 40.42 per cent of that kerosene.
Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna also downplayed the ongoing public outcry, calling on Kenyans “to stop complaining and support the government by paying taxes.”