NAIROBI, KENYA – A general increase in the cost of food items drove up the cost of living for Kenyans fueling speculation that a rise in inflation was in the offing.
Monthly statistics for April from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that in April inflation rose marginally 4.14 per cent as compared to the month of March when it stood at 4.11 per cent. The information shows that there was a rise in the cost of food items such as tomatoes, beef, potatoes and sugar.
A similar rise was witnessed in the cost of housing, water, electricity, gas among others.
Kenya’s economy made drastic strides in reducing inflation during the second half of 2012 where it dropped from a high of 16 per cent to less than six per cent. There was however expectations of a rise in inflation levels in the country following a charged electioneering period that culminated in the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the fourth President of Kenya.
Unlike retired President Mwai Kibaki who was an economist, Uhuru is a Political Scientist and it will be interesting to see how he scales the heights of economic balancing. However all indications are that the new president will be working closely technocrats if his recent cabinet secretary nominations are anything to go by.
The cost of living in Kenya has been on a steady climb and currently, more than 46 per cent of the population can hardly afford a square meal a day thanks to the spiraling cost of basic food commodities such as maize, sugar, cooking oil among others.
In its manifesto, the Jubilee government composed of Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto promised to bring down the cost of living through ensuring that the cost of basic food commodities is within reach.
The inflation rate in Kenya hit rock bottom in December last year when it 3.2 per cent.
All indications are that the level of inflation will continue rising given the expected food shortage especially in June and July. Already, there are reports that the national granary located at the National Cereals and Produce Board silos is almost depleted, a situation that occasion another round of food deals between rogue government officials and profiteers in the country.
The inflation rise cannot be said to be shilling driven as the Kenyan currency has been gaining strength against major world currencies since the election period and the fact that it passed without incident.
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