Kenya Petrol Politics: The recent dramatic increase on petrol in Kenya has taken many by surprise. And yet it was only predictable concerning the situation the government has found itself in. But what kind of political implications should we expect?
Petrol prices in Kenya has hit its nine-year end high on rising crude costs in the country’s history, piling inflationary pressure on the market.
It is no secret that the government is very seriously cash strapped at the moment. The State’s Spokesman Cyrus Oguna were crosscutting remarks considering the situation the Kenyan citizens are facing now. In a press briefing, Oguna told Kenyans to stop whining and instead ‘stand firm ‘to supporting the government, by paying taxes to enable it to pay salaries to civil servants and also fund development projects.
Taxing petrol is one of the easiest ways to make revenue quickly and consistently. Every government needs petrol money to raise revenue, it is easy money for the government.
Uganda and Tanzania also thrives heavily on taxing oil products, although their prices are slightly still lower than ours.
The plain truth about Kenya is that this incident come at a time Kenyans are going through very tough times, many lost their jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic, some companies completely shut down, many a businesses running at a fraction of their capacity. That has a damaging effect across the board. This consequently has affected the livelihoods of vast majority of Kenyan voters.
If you ask an economists in Kenya petrol costs increase would make things a lot worse for many Kenyans
An increase in petrol prices virtually means an increase of everything in the nation, the manufacturing companies will need to transport things to the market. They will need to fuel those vehicles used to transport goods and deliver services.
The biggest dilemma is that the government’s money constraints has not been caused by unavoidable circumstances.
One of the issues really restraining the government economy is the repayment of loans. Loans for projects that were supposed to generate income to pay for loans. For instance it is in the public domain who specifically benefited from the Standard Gauge Railway Project for instance. In the run up to the 2017 controversial General Elections, billionaire Jimmy Wanjigi switched sides from supporting Jubilee whom he had supported since 2013 to supporting NASA and Raila Odinga.
Insiders revealed that one of the main reasons why Wanjigi left was the SGR, which then was almost a done deal involving him, was at the last minute switched by the Deputy President to other prominent personalities in the Rift Valley.
It is also a matter in the public record that the SGR budget was highly inflated and prices in the budget exaggerated. The extra money was indeed was for kept for change.
Unnaturally concerning the SGR project, only those who were calling the shots know where the cost of this line was that was initially supposed to reach Busia but only reached Nairobi disappeared to.
There is no argument that most of Kenya’s financial damages were mostly between 2013 and 2016.During these 3 short years where Kenya’s foreign debt climbed up colossally.
This is a huge contributing factor to the situation we are faced with today, where the government is forced to make taxation decisions that hurt the people very badly. While knowing well the possible outcomes of taking that desperate measure
Even the ODM party which is within the Handshake issued a statement complaining about the rising petrol prices.
The nation has always collected revenue from different items, and petroleum taxes, but never before have we been faced with a situation where the government has no option but to tax something that has already been overtaxed.
According to political analysts this recent developments is come at a very dangerous time. In what they term to be stretching people well beyond their limits. And coming at a time when people are pushing the hustler narrative and spreading word how safe it is to confide in. Indeed the hustler narrative is created by people who have something to do with the SGR scandal.
The combination of having the increase in petrol prices coming at a time when the hustler narrative is consistently gaining momentum is extremely scary. It also the kind of scenario that could sink the Building Bridges Initiative ship might sink.
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