Our attention is drawn to the Sh90 per 2kg packet maize flour as subsidized by government.
We welcome the development solely on account of offering a significant reprieve to consumers.
We are, however, deeply concerned that from procurement to distribution of the commodity, the process has been shrouded in mystery.
By design or default, there has been no accountability at all. Corruption and missing value for money fears cannot be far-fetched.
Fact that small millers have been discriminated against in favour of the cartel like major millers implies a significant challenge in sustaining the cheaper product especially for the majority poor with limited access to supermarkets.
We are equally receiving worrying reports that cartels are again hoarding off the products for potential resale unless an artificial shortage is reality. Government has failed to disclose the amounts of flour distributed in various Counties.
The packaging equally raises valid fears of an untold rush with an incomplete date of manufacture only marked as “March 2017” and expiry date marked as 31 August 2017.
By marking the Sh90 per packet, Government is in breach of the Competition Act Cap. 504. Ideally, it should have capped at a maximum of Sh90 and allow willing dealers to sell at a lesser rate.
Its unacceptable that the taxpayers subsidized product is being touted as partisan political public relations and even as a campaign tool.
It is inappropriate, therefore, for government agents to be seen to celebrate the unsustainable and temporary maize flour price cuts without offering a suitable explanation on why it shot up unreasonably.
We must avoid excitement in a case where we over-tax other sectors of the economy to finance subsidy.
Meanwhile, we urge Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the procurement and distribution of the subsidized flour.
Secretary General, Consumers Federation of Kenya