The attention of Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) is drawn to a request by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) addressed to Petroleum Secretary John Munyes lobbying for higher fuel prices to be maintained on account of unsubstantiated claim that OMCs are still holding 40 per cent of the expensive stocks even as cheap stocks were shipped into the country.
OMCs have vindicated our long held view that they are guided more by incessant greed than prevailing socio-economic and legal realities. That they want a legal tool applied by the regulator to price fuel compromised at the expense of their self-interest reveals their disdain for the rule of law and the fact that they want to maintain huge profits even as oil producers are literally paying dealers to evacuate oil as a result of low demand in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, we condemn the OMCs for the shameful move and urge the relevant institutions to investigate the OMCs involved with a view of finding them as short of ethics and integrity thresholds and one that is guided by intent to defraud sick and impoverished Kenyans during this difficult period.
We also wish to advise the Cabinet Secretary to observe the red line between policy and independence of regulation. We reiterate our push to have a consumer representative on the board of the regulator, EPRA, with immediate effect.
Lastly, we urge EPRA to stop overtures meant to advantage profiteers at the expense of consumers. EPRA must not only be seen to be independent but strictly balance the interests of the market and consumers as per existing regulations. Consumers will not accept high and unreasonable fuel prices at this point in time.