By Faridah N Kulumba
Africa-Press – Kenya. Kenya is facing an unprecedented fuel shortage. The fuel crisis has led to a number of oil marketing stations shut down and prices of goods being hiked. This situation is threatening the economic sector of Kenya as the country is still struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic effects since the year 2020.
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto this week shocked Kenyans when he said that the current fuel crisis in the country is a result of state capture, in which cartels and inept public officials have worked together to steal from Kenyans. Ruto is demanding full disclosure of oil marketers who have benefited from the fuel subsidy, claiming that some of the funds meant for the program had been diverted.
According to Ruto the casual and insensitive attitude to the plight of tens of millions of struggling Kenyans is a disturbing development that has emboldened cartels that have taken over the critical economic sector. Kenyan government allocated Ksh 39 billion petroleum development Levy fuel Fund meant for fuel subsidy program but surprisingly the crisis deepens. It is claimed that the state had diverted the funds to debt servicing and infrastructure development without the approval of the National Assembly.
DP Ruto’s concern is the silence of the government and the lack of action from the responsible ministries as the fuel crisis worsens. Ruto The situation is affecting mostly low-income earner Kenyans as the prices of various commodities surges.
Who is responsible?
The current shortage of fuel happening in Kenya is the result of collusion between monopolistic cartels and economic saboteurs on one hand and oblivious, reckless, insensitive, and incompetent public officials on the other. According to Ruto insatiable greed and corruption are driving Kenya over the cliff, and the government should stop blaming the Russia-Ukraine crisis for what is happening in Kenya.
On 21 March, the government of Kenya revealed that the ongoing war in Ukraine will affect the economic growth of the country. According to the Kenyan government, the war is disrupting the export-import supply chain which could especially affect fuel prices. The increase in fuel prices will touch nearly every service delivered and each product produced and distributed.
Russia-Ukraine contribution to Kenya
Russia and Ukraine bear significant contributions to Kenya’s economy due to the fact that both nations carry a huge percentage of wheat production in the world. Russia contributes 10 percent while Ukraine is 4 percent. Kenya finds itself in this geopolitical conundrum that adversely affects the global agricultural market since Kenya imports a great deal of wheat from the two countries. In 2019, wheat importation from Russia and Ukraine stood at Ksh,11 billion and Ksh,5 billion respectively.
How Kenya lose billions to cartels
In March this year, DP Ruto alleged that Kenya loses Ksh 100 billion annually to corrupt cartels in the government. He claimed that the billions of shillings were being funneled into organizations during his prolonged onslaught on the administration, of which he is part.
The DP to the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed that the government his working for had channeled billions into “Opaque entities” without accountability. That amount has grown (by) between four to five-fold in the last 10 years. However, the opaque institutions were not revealed but the second in command referred to the President’s Office.
Kenya introduced a fuel subsidy scheme on April 14, 2021, that sees the government pay oil marketers a certain percentage of fuel costs to cushion the public and stabilize the market. The subsidy was effected as part of an effort to bring down the high costs of basic items. This has helped to keep the prices of gas, kerosene, and diesel in the past year stable.