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Why Kenyan consumers will continue to pay more

By JAMES KARIUKI

Kenyans dug deeper into their pockets to foot expenses on food, rent and utility bills as inflation rose to eight per cent in the past one month.

A just-released report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) for December 2015 indicated that ‘sin’ items such as alcoholic beverages and cigarettes recorded the highest rise as sellers sought to cash in on demand arising from end year festivities.

It said cigarettes saw the highest increase in the past month by a staggering 23 per followed by beer whose price rose by 14 per cent.

KNBS said that alcoholic beverages and cigarettes’ prices rose by 11.46 per cent in December 2015 bringing the annual increment to 15 per cent as sellers cashed in on an end year festivities and the urge by revelers to over-indulge.

The report attributed the increase in prices on excise duty prices introduced on beer and cigarettes last month while travellers enjoyed no reprieve as transporters increased prices by 1.5 per cent in a bid to cash in on the usual December holiday rush.

Kenyans living in leased houses are not lucky as rent and water bills as well as charcoal prices increased by 0.55 per cent.

Charcoal remains one of the most popular source of fuel for millions of families living in urban and rural areas as it is readily available and affordable.

COST OF FUEL

Over the same review period, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ index increased by 0.55 per cent.

KNBS said there was a notable fall in the cost of electricity, kerosene and cooking gas following last month’s setting by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Hotels also increased their food and accommodation prices by 5.29 per cent as the number of guests rose due to the number of international conferences and religious meetings held in major urban centres.

Clothing and footwear prices also rose by five per cent while education costs recorded a four per cent rise which has caused an uproar among parents over the government’s ability to reign in on school boards.

Furnishings, household equipment and routine domestic maintenance also recorded an five per cent rise indicating Kenyans’ penchant for things modern and good looking.

Kenyans are also expected to pay more to access health services as prices rose by five per cent. At the same time, an acute shortage for tomatoes in the fresh produce market saw prices rise by a 17per cent.