In a recent development, the Kenyan government has proposed a substantial increase in the road maintenance levy, potentially leading to higher fuel prices.

This proposal, put forth in the Finance Bill 2024, suggests raising the levy by Sh7 per litre, a move that has sparked concern among Kenyans already burdened by the high cost of living.

The proposal, presented by Finance Committee Chair Kuria Kimani, highlights that the road maintenance levy has remained unchanged since 2017, despite significant increases in fuel prices.

Currently set at Sh18 per litre for both petrol and diesel, the levy is crucial for funding the maintenance and operation of the nation's road network.

The Committee argues that raising the levy from Sh18 to Sh25 per litre is necessary to generate adequate funds for the upkeep and repair of road infrastructure.

This need has been exacerbated by recent heavy rains and flooding linked to El Nino, which have severely damaged many roads, rendering some impassable.

"To help raise sufficient funds to maintain and repair roads across the country, the Committee recommends an increase of the Levy pursuant to Section 3 of the Road Maintenance Levy Fund Act from Sh18 to Sh25 per litre all petroleum fuels," the report stated.

Despite acknowledging the necessity for increased local revenues for road projects, the Committee also noted that the overall budget allocated to the State Department might see a reduction.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen supported the increase, emphasising that the current rate does not adequately cover the high costs associated with repairing and rebuilding roads.

The proposal is set to undergo the parliamentary process, where Members of Parliament will vote to either accept or reject the bill.

If passed, the bill will then be signed into law by the President, potentially leading to higher fuel prices for Kenyans already struggling with economic challenges.