Fuel prices to go up by Sh6 a litre for road levy
Motorists will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for fuel as enhanced road maintenance levy rates come into effect at midnight on Thursday.
The addition of Sh6 per litre of petrol and diesel to the levy, which will bring the total cost to Sh18, is likely to have repercussions across the economy with public service vehicle operators and other transporters expected to pass on the costs to consumers.
Authorities say the new rates are necessary to help maintain roads because government resources are now mainly focused on funding new infrastructure projects.
“You know for political reasons, there is a bigger push to build new roads, which usually leaves out the focus on maintaining the existing roads,” said Kenya Roads Board General Manager Rashid Mohamed.
“That means we end up with the scenario we have now. Roads are bad and we cannot defend that. I think County governments also need to step in to help in maintaining roads because the fuel levy is not a substitute but just supplementary,” Mr Mohamed said.
The government hopes to raise Sh60 billion annually from the levy, up from Sh40 billion, which would mean authorities will be drawing the highest amount for road maintenance in the region.
Tanzania collects Sh50 billion for its maintenance fund while Uganda fetches Sh20 billion.
BUILDING NEW ROADS
With successive governments focused on major infrastructural expansion and the need to win over voters by building new roads, existing ones have remained in a sorry state for the last two decades.
Since February, there have been 10 major demonstrations across the country over the state of roads with residents lighting bonfires, and planting bananas on the roads to protest huge potholes.
Last month residents of Kutus in Kirinyaga County held demonstrations to protest the deplorable state of roads in the area after an accident involving a car and a motorbike.
May saw the highest number of demonstrations with transport in Nairobi’s Kasarani area being paralysed for hours on May 15 as commuters to the city were left stranded after rowdy youth barricaded the Kasararani-Mwiki Road to protest its poor state.
The Nairobi County authorities later sent in a contractor to pave the vital road which connects thousands of residents to the Nairobi-Thika highway.
A week earlier, residents in Eastleigh held a similar protest leaving commuters stranded. Juja was next in line with a series of demos being held over the poor state of the Juja-Mirimaini-Mung’etho and Kimbo-Murera-Matangi-ini roads that were badly affected by heavy rains.
The wave of protest over bad roads has spread to Olorkurto, Narok North and Kerio Valley where residents have been up in arms over the neglect of the Tenges-Kapluk-Koloa road. Meru residents held a similar protest as well.
Motorists who spoke to the Sunday Nation expressed anger over the increasing levies and the worsening status of the major roads including those in major towns and cities.
To read more go to: www.nation.co.ke