Skyrocketing food, fuel prices making lives unbearable for residents

Nyeri county residents are complaining of living in unfamiliar times rarely witnessed in recent years owing to soaring prices in food and fuel.

With the country’s inflation rate at 6.5 percent in April according to a recent economic survey, the residents have complained of tough times they allege were becoming unbearable despite the country’s GDP having recorded an impressive 7.5 percent growth last year.

The residents are now crying to the government to urgently reconsider lowering the prices of fuel and basic food items to help cushion them during these harsh economic times.

Michael Maina, a mechanic working in Nyeri town says the current situation has now been worsened further by the failed long rains that may lead to poor yields this year.

Maina says as a parent, life has become hard for him given the fact that he has to take care of his family in the midst of the runaway inflation rate that has led to increase in prices of basic food stuffs such as milk, cooking oil, and maize flour.

“We feel let down by this government even after having met our end of the bargain by paying our taxes on time. We would rather live in a country without a government that pays lip service to our cries. Our children must go to school and there is no money. The rains have failed and both our crops and livestock are dying away. This is serious,” lamented Maina.

Simon Ngatia, a businessman on his part believes the government should improve the salaries of its employees to cushion them against the tough economic times.

Ngatia says it is quite laughable for the State to let prices of basic goods take an upward trajectory without considering improving the earnings of those under its payroll.

According to him, life has taken a turn for the worst with people having to do away with a three-square meals a day.

“I reside in the village and I can state with facts that most people there rarely take lunch. People have nowadays resorted to having breakfast and supper. Things are that bad,” he told KNA.

But Stella Mutuma, a hawker who plies her wares within the town CBD argues that despite the high cost of living, the situation is not all gloomy.

She also believes that the high cost of living should not wholly be blamed on the government but also on external forces.

A county government employee who requested to remain anonymous on her part cited lack of an opposition figure in the country to keep the government of the day on check as one of the reasons for the current crisis.

She observed that since the opposition decided to abscond its role in speaking out in regard to the challenges affecting the common person, Kenyans were effectively left to fight their own battles.

“I work for the government and I must therefore defend it at all times. Be as it may, the living conditions have become unbearable. We wish the handshake didn’t happen and hope that the next leader will make Kenya better,” she said.

Kenya could be staring at a possible hike in fuel, food and cooking oil prices following the ongoing war in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine.

Both countries are leading producers of natural gas, fossil fuel, wheat, and sunflower oil whose production has been heavily impacted by the ongoing conflict.

Statistics show food costs rose 8.89 per cent in January 2022 despite the decline in the overall rate of inflation, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The KNBS review showed that the CPI increased by 0.31 per cent from an index of 118.274 in December 2021 to 118.642 in January this year.

Similarly, the month-to-month Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Index rose by 1.07 per cent between December 2021 and January 2022.



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