The Consumer Price Index, which measures the percentage change in the price of a basket of goods and services consumed by households, increased by 0.6 per cent from an index of 129.29 in January 2023 to 130.13 in February 2023. The rise in inflation was largely due to an increase in prices of commodities under food and non-alcoholic beverages (13.3 per cent), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (7.6 per cent), and transport (12.9 per cent) between February 2022 and February 2023, said KNBS.
The month-to-month food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 1.2 per cent between January and February, with most vegetable prices rising relative to January. The prices for cabbages and carrots each increased by 11.3 per cent, while kale-Sukuma wiki and tomato prices increased by 11.0 and 7.8 per cent, respectively. However, prices of mangoes, sugar, and fortified maize flour dropped by 4.8, 3.2, and 2.5 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels’ Index increased by 0.4 per cent between January and February, mainly due to an increase in gas/LPG prices by 4.7 per cent. However, electricity prices decreased during the period under review. The Transport Index remained the same between January and February as diesel and petrol prices remained unchanged.
The high cost of living in Kenya has been a persistent issue, with many households struggling to make ends meet. Inflationary pressures have been mainly attributed to factors such as high food and fuel prices, rising taxes, and a weak currency. As the country continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers will need to come up with strategies to address the cost of living challenge, which remains a top concern for many Kenyans.