Agriculture CS Peter Munya says the government has released Ksh 8 billion in order to finance the 4-week National Maize Flour Subsidy Programme announced Wednesday.
The funds will allow millers to implement the subsidy programme announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta which has seen the price of a 2kg maize meal packet retail at Ksh. 100 from the previous Ksh 205.
Munya said the government has also cleared the pending arrears amounting to Ksh 500 million from the subsidy programme announced in 2017 when prices surged to Ksh 189 from Ksh. 70.
During a Friday briefing, Munya cautioned traders seeking to take advantage of the situation to buy excess maize flour for resale purposes despite the government assurance that consumers will not be restricted to the number of packets they should buy.
“There will be no restriction. However, re-sale is prohibited and the government shall use relevant authorities to bring those engaging in this form of malpractice to account,” said Munya.
Given the subsidy programme is scheduled to end in August 20, 2022, bringing uncertainty to the direction prices will take after, Munya said expected long rain should help ease prices.
“It is anticipated that the situation should stabilize after the early harvest of the long rains season hits the market. We are monitoring production, and we expect that the maize deficit will ease after the end of August 2022, and the maize flour prices will begin to come down,” he said.
A spot check by KBC Channel1 Thursday revealed that even as some retailer lowered their unga prices, consumers were still restricted to only purchase 4KG per head.
Kenya is expected to witness increased maize imports to ease the situation following maize millers exemption from paying Railway Development Levy which is charged at the rate of 2pc and Import Declaration Fee which is charged at the rate of 1.5% on custom goods imported into the country.
“As long as imports continue to flow into the country, and the long rains seasonal production hits the market, availability and access will later stabilize. Hence, there is no need to panic and stock up excess maize flour. Just buy enough, as you normally do. There will still be enough in the market from end of August 2022,” said the CS.