Public transport operators in Kenya have threatened to increase service charges starting Saturday following a recent hike in fuel prices.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) on Tuesday announced new pump prices, with gasoline prices going up by 6 percent this week, while diesel went up 7.4 percent. The price of kerosene, which is used by many across the country in cooking, rose by 13 percent.
The Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai, told local K24 television that registered operators are free to adjust their charges to cater for the increased operating costs.
“We have not issued a directive instructing the operators to increase fare prices. They are however justified given the recent hike in fuel prices,” K24 quotes Kimutai.
“The industry is liberalized and Saccos have the freedom to determine increases or decreases in fares using their own parameters. They can do their own cost accounting and come up with new prices for their routes,” he said.
The new pump prices have sparked criticism from a section of politicians as well as the public.
Bloomberg reports a spokesperson for EPRA’s Director-General, Daniel Kiptoo, to say the prices climbed mainly because the authorities didn’t draw from a stabilization fund as they did in the past couple of months to keep rates steady regardless of international-oil price fluctuations.
They previously used the fund to compensate oil marketers for cutting their margins and quoting lower prices.
“The stabilization process for the pump prices has not been affected this pricing cycle,” Bloomberg quotes Kiptoo to have said in a comment sent by his spokesperson.
According to a 2018 report by Deloitte, 70 percent of Nairobi’s population is dependent on matatu buses.