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Uhuru fights to push food prices off polls agenda

Sunday May 07 2017
ESIPISU

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu addresses reporters at State House in Nairobi on May 7, 2017. PHOTO | PSCU

By DENNIS ODUNGA

President Uhuru Kenyatta is fighting to address the rising cost of living that has become a campaign issue for the Opposition, as he hits the road seeking Kenyans’ support for his re-election.

On Sunday, a day after he was endorsed to defend his seat in the August 8 General Election, Mr Kenyatta reiterated that funds would be sought to stabilise the prices.

“The President is concerned by the rising cost of essential commodities. He has settled on fresh measures through a supplementary budget to address the situation,” said State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu.

Mr Esipisu, who was addressing the media at State House, Nairobi, said Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich was finalising the details of the supplementary budget before it is taken to Parliament.

REDUCED STOCKS

Top on the agenda is maize flour, which is the country’s staple, and sugar, whose prices have hit the roof as many retail outlets registered reduced stocks.

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On Saturday, the President, while addressing the Jubilee Party National Delegates Conference at Bomas of Kenya, was categorical that Parliament must deliberate on how to cushion Kenyans from the increased cost of these products.

“We are a government that believes in providing solutions and not talking about problems,” Mr Kenyatta said, adding that the situation had been aggravated by prolonged drought.

He was reacting to National Super Alliance leaders, who on Friday criticised the President, accusing him of deliberately driving many Kenyans into poverty so that they can remain at the government’s mercy.

HIGH COST OF LIVING

“The economy is in turmoil. The cost of living is beyond reach for millions of our citizens. From price of unga, bread and milk, to bus fare to rent and paraffin,” said ODM leader Raila Odinga. 

“We must stand together and liberate ourselves from such kind of life,” he added

The National Assembly will resume its sittings on Tuesday and the Nation has established that Majority Leader Aden Duale is under instructions to prioritise this matter.

However, Mr Esipisu was non-committal on how long it will take before Kenyans start enjoying the reduced prices.

Given that Jubilee lawmakers are the majority in Parliament, they are most likely to approve the government proposals.

The money will mainly be sourced from reallocations from other ministries.

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