Residents of Machakos have registered mixed reactions following the move by the Government to hike pump prices on major petroleum products by an average Sh.5.25 per litre.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced new pump prices Sunday which saw prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel increased across all the 47 counties.
The new prices which took effect from midnight have been occasioned by an increase in global fuel prices.
But the new prices will come as a big boon to Public Service Vehicles especially as hundreds of people prepare to travel to various places towards the end of the week for the Easter celebrations.
A visit at petrol stations within the town revealed that all the leading fueling stations had adjusted their pump prices
to conform to the new pricing.
A litre of petrol in Machakos is now retailing at Sh.106.73 up from Sh.104.35 while that of diesel will now be selling at Sh.102.26 up from Sh.100.37.
Those using kerosene will now have to part with Sh.102.35 per litre, an increase from the previous price of Sh.97.30.
John Mangaya the Chairman of Wamasaa Sacco PSV matatus which ply the Machakos-Nairobi route has lamented at the monthly increase in fuel prices, saying the move was ill timed.
He cautioned that if the government continued to increase the prices of fuel, PSV owners would have no option but to hike fares to cope with the increase in fuel prices which impacted on their operation costs.
“We are unhappy about the increase since both the PSV operators and the common person will be hit hard. But we will have to sit down as a Sacco and deliberate on the matter before we make any decision on whether or not to raise our charges,” he told the press.
Dunkan Mwendwa, a PSV driver urged ERC to be considering the plight of the ordinary Kenyans, saying with the rise of fuel costs, Kenyans would have to dig deeper into their pockets to sustain their everyday lives at a time when the economy is not doing very well.
His sentiments were echoed by Musyoki Mutua, a private motorist who said the increase in fuel prices could not have come at a worse time than now when the prospects of the long rains appear uncertain .
He said Machakos County being one of the areas often hit by rain shortage, life would mostly likely be harder with
increased fuel prices as it would produce a ripple effect on the price of all other products including the cost of foodstuffs.
By Samuel Maina/Jesica Mutunga