Azimio pokes holes into Ruto’s fertiliser subsidy, demands cheap unga
The Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition has criticized President William Ruto's administration over the current high cost of living in the country.
Addressing members of the press in Nairobi on Friday, September 30, Azimio leaders led by Wiper party boss Kalonzo Musyoka faulted the Kenya Kwanza administration over what they termed as misplaced priorities.
Kalonzo said the Ruto-led administration had failed to honour its promise on reducing the high cost of living, leaving many Kenyans suffering.
Azimio hits out at Ruto
While accusing Ruto of empty promises, the former vice president took issue with the President's inaugural speech at Parliament yesterday saying the Head of State failed to address pertinent issues regarding the state of the country's economy and the national standard of living.
"The first campaign promise was to the lowering of the cost of living. From Day 1, all costs associated with basic living have gone up. The price of unga and the cost of electricity are beyond the ordinary wananchi’s reach," Azimio said.
"These are matters we feel should take pre-eminence in these early days. Just like there was the rush to subsidize fertilizer on 19th September 2022, the same urgency should have first and foremost been applied to the rapidly rising cost of living."
The Azimio camp urged the government to honour its promises and reduce the cost of fuel as part of efforts to lower the high cost of living in the country.
"As you are well aware, the extremely high cost of fuel in Kenya affects all sectors of our economy from production costs that makes us unattractive to investors and our local manufacturing, to transport costs that inevitably makes life unbearable, with the expensive basic cost of goods and services," the statement read in part.
"This is happening at a time when the global price of a barrel of oil is on the decline, down to US$ 80 from a high of over US$ 120. We therefore expect this Administration to honour their campaign promise of lowering fuel prices and in addition, revise the punitive tax levies on the cost of fuel."
To deal with the current economic crisis, Kalonzo indicated that the Ruto administration should prioritise restructuring the national debt and recovering money lost through graft since 2013.
"The Ruto Administration initiative of utilising savings for development instead of borrowing is another camouflaged promissory note. To realise the Kshs. 300 Billion from this year’s budget is extremely ambitious," he added.
"We wish to propose austerity measures such as the restructuring of the national debt and recovering of public funds looted from 2013 to date."
At the same time, Azimio questioned a recent fertiliser subsidy rolled out by the Kenya Kwanza administration and demanded that the government makes public details on the procurement of the product.
Inquiry on fertiliser subsidy
The Raila Odinga-led camp said it had directed its MPs to conduct an inquiry into the procurement process of the fertiliser.
"We also question how this fertilizer was procured; when it was procured; and, where it was sourced from. We ask: does it meet the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) standards?" Azimio posed.
"This Administration must therefore make public the procurement process of this fertilizer subsidy. We
have directed our MPs to commence an enquiry into the same."
The government through the Ministry of Agriculture on September 20, released Ksh3.5 billion to cushion farmers against the high cost of fertiliser in the country.
The Head of State had during his inauguration at Kasarani Stadium promised to avail 1.4 million bags of fertilizer, which would sell for Ksh3,500 each, down from Ksh6,500.
While ruling out subsidies on consumption, Ruto affirmed that his administration will instead invest in producers.
"We are not going to be subsidizing consumption. That is why we are going slow on the matter of subsidizing consumption. We are going to work and support producers," he said while addressing a Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meeting in Naivasha.
"The Unga subsidy that was done, I was being briefed by the Ministry of Agriculture for one month, the taxpayer was asked to pay Ksh7 billion for the unga that cost Ksh100 which was nowhere in the first place. Only few people laid hold of it. If we had spent Sh7 billion shillings in fertilizer it would have been a different ball game."