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Murkomen allays fears of fuel price hike if road levy is increased

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The proposal has since triggered public outcry due to fears that it will increase fuel prices and result in a further rise in the cost of living.

Roads and Transport minister Kipchumba Murkomen has put to rest public concern about a fuel price hike if the Road Maintenance Levy is revised upwards as has been proposed.

Last month, the ministry urged parliament to approve the 39 per cent increase on the levy to help it sustain an increase in road maintenance needs and the required resources.

The proposal has since triggered public outcry due to fears that it will increase fuel prices and result in a further rise in the cost of living.

On Monday, however, the Cabinet secretary said the ministry had taken note of concerns raised at public participation sessions during the day as well as written submissions received from July 5.

Murkokmen said the ministry would explore ways of getting the resources needed to maintain roads, as expressed by Kenyans in their numbers, without raising the cost of living through an increase in petroleum prices.

"We will analyse the reports received on email and social media platforms as well as the submissions made today, and come up with a decision that corresponds with the recommendations from the public," Murkomen said.

"As suggested by Kenyans, we will only make this decision when we are certain that any revenue measures adopted will not result in a rise in the cost of living."

The CS noted, however, that the reason for proposing to increase the levy from the current Sh18 per litre to Sh25, was mainly to address the maintenance deficit which stands at Sh78 billion this financial year alone.

"With the current trend, it is projected that by Financial Year 2028/2029 this financing gap will rise to Sh315 billion," he said.

"The additional funds could be essential in covering the widening gap, ensuring proper and full maintenance of our roads," he said.

"It is worth noting that there has been a considerable increase in the country's road network from 166,451km in 2016 to the current 239,122km, which requires regular maintenance from the Sh18 provided for by the Road Maintenance Levy that has been in place for the last eight years."

He added that most of the abandoned roads are under the Low Volume Seal programme, which has never been maintained in the last 10 years, and are on the verge of being wiped away altogether.

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