The country has recorded the highest inflation rate ever in five years’ time in the month of July since 2017 to 8.3 per cent from 7.9 per cent recorded in June.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said the increase was due to a rise in food and nonalcoholic beverages index which surged 15.3 per cent in a year to the period under review.
This portends a grim future for the impoverished population and poverty levels continue to rise with majority of Kenyans unable to meet basic necessities including one meal a day.
Retail prices for key food items have shot up sharply according latest data by KNBS.
According to the KNBS, carrots, loose maize grain and non-aromatic white rice has their prices rise by 13 per cent, 9.7 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.
Similarly, price increment was also noted on beans, green grams, sukuma wiki, beef, and cabbages.
However, on a year-on-year basis, Kenyans have had to pay more for key food items, fuel and electricity.
For instance, retail prices for wheat flour, maize flour and cooking oil have risen 46 per cent, 29.4 per cent and 46.5 per cent respectively.
On the other hand, retail prices for kerosene have shot up 30.5 per cent within a year, same to diesel and super petrol whose prices increased 29.8 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
Despite cooking gas prices dropping by 3.7 per cent between June and July as a result of VAT reduction on LPG, prices of a 13kg cylinder have also gone up 29.5 per cent when compared to July last year.
As a result of the Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction, a 13kg cylinder was retailing at an average of Sh3,100.67 in July compared to Sh3,218.22 in June this year and Sh2,394.18 in July last year.
Even as inflation touches a 5-year high, the government has been forced to roll out subsidy programme on fuel, fertiliser and maize which Central Bank of Kenya said will help moderate inflation as it retained the base lending rate at 7.5 per cent in its sitting Wednesday.
“Additionally, the recent waiver of import duties and levies on white maize, the subsidy on retail prices of sifted maize flour, and the recent reduction in VAT on LPG will further moderate domestic prices,” he said in a statement Thursday.
Prices of food items are nonetheless expected to ease going into the year backed by cooling international commodity prices and increased harvest from long rains expected in October.