Kenya’s cost of living is increasing rapidly amid rising food and fuel prices. The inflation rate rose to 5.56 per cent in March from 5.08 per cent in February because of the surge in the prices of key household items like cooking gas, food, and petrol.
According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, prices of key food items were relatively higher in March 2022 compared with prices in March 2021. The prices of cooking oil, wheat flour and gas rose 6.50 per cent, 4.47 per cent and 7.76 per cent, respectively, in March 2022. Reportedly, gasoline and diesel prices also increased because the country’s fuel subsidy has been crippled by a rise in crude oil prices.
Cooking gas has recorded the biggest jump in price among the essential items. According to reports, the price of cooking gas (LPG) also rose by 7.76 per cent with the average price of refilling a 13 kg cylinder standing at Sh2,866 from Sh2,659.
According to a report by local media, many companies are still struggling to regain their footing after the Covid-19 pandemic. Inflation comes at a time when average private-sector pay is growing at the slowest pace.
The average earnings for workers in the private sector grew at the slowest pace in a decade in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kenyans have also been paying more for vegetables because of the seasonal price inflation in the dry season.
Kenya relies on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. The Russia-Ukraine war has limited supplies of essential fuel and food. Russia cannot sell its oil due to the economic sanctions by the Western power. Kenya is bound to suffer because it relies on Russia to purchase oil. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has also pushed wheat flour prices to a record high.