Unga back on the shelves, but at its original price
Days after the government reportedly suspended the National Maize Flour Subsidy Program due to inadequate funds, majority of supermarkets in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) have now fully stocked.
A spot check by Nairobi News shows all branches of Naivas Supermarkets in the city were fully stocked while some like Quickmart did not have all the brands.
At the Naivas Moi Avenue branch, the commodity was retailing at Sh231 for a 2kg pack of Amaize and Sh257 for Raha Premium Kavagara 2kg pack.
The prices were the same across their various outlets with the Naivas Ronald Ngala Branch retailing Ugali Afya at Sh250 and Raha Kavagara going for Sh257 for a 2kg packet.
The commodity was also available at Kenyatta Avenue and Naivas Lifestyle CBD (Hazina Trade Centre) where it also retailed Sh231 for a 2kg packet.
Quickmart Pioneer did not have any maize flour whereas it was retailing at the Tom Mboya’s branch which had Ugali Afya brand retailing at Sh131 for the 1kg packet which was the only one available.
On Saturday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, in an internal memo, reportedly indicated the suspension was due to inadequate funds from the treasury.
“Due to inadequate exchequer releases from the National Treasury, it has been decided that the Maize Flour Subsidy Program be suspended with immediate effect,” Mr Munya said.
A day later he said that the subsidy was still on.
Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced stimulus measures to cushion Kenyans against the high cost of living, effectively lowering the cost of maize flour.
The Head of State said a 2kilogram-packet of Unga would retail at Sh100 down from an average of Sh225 following talks with millers at State House, Nairobi.
“I note with regret that the cost of a 2 kg pack of maize-meal remains out of reach for many, as it is currently retailing at an average of Sh205,” Kenyatta said after a meeting with Millers at State House.
Since the subsidy was announced, Kenyans have been struggling to access the subsidized maize meal.
The government had offered to pay millers so as to subsidize the price of a 2kg packet from Sh230 to Sh100, in what triggered a major shortage as millers feared they may not be paid after all.
The Association of Manufacturers (KAM) recently assured Kenyans there will be enough unga in the market.
Maize meal is Kenya’s staple food and its cost escalation was threatening to divide the nation, with leaders outside the government calling for urgent measures to lower its price.