President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced new stimulus measures to cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living, effectively lowering the cost of maize flour.
Effective Wednesday, the Head of State said a 2-kilogram packet of Unga will retail at Sh100 down from an average of Sh205 following talks with millers at State House, Nairobi.
“I note with regret that the cost of a 2 kg pack of maize-meal remains out of reach for many, as it is currently retailing at an average of Sh205,” Kenyatta said after a meeting with Millers at State House.
He announced the suspension of the Railway Development Levy and the Importation Declaration fee, effectively lowering the cost of 2-kilogram maize flour to Sh100.
“As a consequence of this continued escalation in food prices, I today announce Fiscal Measures focused on food Subsidy, as our Fifth Stimulus Programme covering the supply and distribution of our nation’s staple food – maize meal, across the entire country,” he said.
Maize meal is Kenya’s staple food and its cost escalation was threatening to divide the nation, with leaders outside the government calling for urgent measures to lower its price.
With the campaign period at its peak, the escalation of the cost of living has dominated campaign rallies, with Deputy President William Ruto accusing his boss and the entire administration of failing to take action.
But when he addressed the nation on Wednesday, President Kenyatta said his administration has implemented a raft of stimulus measures to helo cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living, including fuel subsidies that have helped maintain the cost of fuel which could have been retailing at as high as Sh200 per litre for petrol.
President Kenyatta, who is set to leave office in three weeks’ time when Kenya goes to elections on August 9, said his administration has also implemented various other measures to cushion Kenyans, including at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also reminded Kenyans that maize flour price has always shot up months before the election, and cited July 2012 before the March 2013 election, when the price of a packet of 2 Kilogrammes Unga shot up from Sh70 to Sh130.
“When my administration came to office, we had to intervene to bring down this price as an urgent priority,” he said
And In May 2017, three months before the August 2017 election, he said, the price of unga shot up to an unprecedented high of Sh189.
“This is the highest price experienced between independence and 2017. And this crisis was used as the fuel that powered the ambitions of certain members of the political class,” he said.