NAIROBI (Halbeeg News) – Kenyan fuel traders have started importing affordable fuel from Somalia after the price of the hard commodity shot up in Kenya.
Recent weeks, the Kenyan motorists have been paying through the nose since mid-August when the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced the new fuel prices.
The traders and motorists in Mandera, Elwak, Wajir, and Garissa have opted to import fuel from the neighbouring Somali because of its proximity and lower fuel prices.
According to an article published by The Star based in Nairobi, residents in Mandera have imported the fuel from Bula Hawa town in Somalia, which is less than 300 metres away.
One litre of petrol from Bula Hawa goes for Sh100 ($1), the same fuel on the Kenyan side of the border goes for between 140 ($1.4) and Sh150 ($1.5) per litre.
“The amount I am required to cough out for a litre at our local petrol stations is just too much. I surely cannot manage,” Abdi Mohamed, a taxi operator in Mandera town told the newspaper.
He added: “But as the saying goes cheap is always expensive. My tuk-tuk (autorickshaw ) has been experiencing mechanical problems from time to time. I suspect it is because of the unfiltered petrol that I fill in my tank. But surely I have no choice.”
According to Mohamed Abdi, another resident, who operates petrol stations in Mandera town, the number of customers has reduced drastically in the last two weeks.
“If this government really cares for its citizens then it should seriously consider reducing these prices. We are already feeling the heat of tough economic times.
“The president should listen to our cries and do something about it. otherwise, if it is left like that it will be terrible for the common mwananchi, especially for us in Mandera who are hundreds of kilometres away from Nairobi,” said Mohamed.
Buses plying the Mandera-Nairobi route have also increased the fare. Before the VAT, the buses charged Sh3,500 ($35) from Mandera to Nairobi but now passengers pay Sh4000 ($40).
However, the government on Friday announced a slight decrease in fuel prices after President Uhuru Kenyatta proposed the VAT be halved.
Nairobi motorists will now buy a litre of petrol at Sh125.59 ($1.25), diesel at Sh115.47 ($1.15) and kerosene at 97.70 ($0.97).