Thursday, 2 June 2011


Recent high cost of living being experienced in East Africa caught people by surprise. Many people had to adjust their budget to least continue to survive in this harsh economic times. It is believed that high cost of living has been brought about courtesy of high oil prices. In addition to that; it is further fuelled by unethical business people.
Current Situation
The current high cost of living being experienced across East Africa has been largely attributed to high prices of oil in the world. The situation is dire to an extent that it has led to protests in Uganda and a demand of 60% pay-hike by workers in Kenya if not they put down their tools of trade. The oil price is, in most cases determined by market forces; demand and supply. The revolution movement in some of the oil producing countries like Libya has adversely affected oil production resulting into shortage of the precious commodity. Consequently, the price of different commodities have sky rocketed pushing people to the brink of poverty.
Unscrupulous business people
However, it is not only high prices that has pushed cost of living through the roof. There are unethical business people who are making the situation worse than already is. This is because some business people are hoarding goods in order to create an acute shortage which in real sense is not there! They then increase the price and reap super normal profit. This has taken a tall order on basic goods like maize which forms a key meal in many families. Kenya in last season had a bumper harvest. The farmers sold some to unscrupulous business persons who have hoarded the produce only to release it now and sell at exorbitant prices making it unaffordable for many people.
Government’s Action…
The government in an attempt to cushion the consumers against the harsh economic times reduced tax levied on maize, wheat, diesel and kerosene. This was announced about 10 days ago but to date, the prices have remained the same. When asked, they are quick to say that the stock bought when the price was is yet to be cleared. On the other hand, when the tax has been increased, they increase the price instantly despite the fact that the stock was acquired when the price was low. That’s sheer greed!
Be Considerate
The high cost of living caused by high prices of oil, extended drought season, and the selfishness of some business people have led some individuals to abject poverty. The million dollar question is what gratification does one get by hoarding goods? You can exploit people for now but don’t forget they will be your customers even after the crisis. Profit making is the primary motive of any business organization but it should be done in most legal and ethical manner. Just remember don’t burn the bridge you may need it on your way back.