Following a publication of a gazette notice with legal backing for State control of sifted maize flour costs, retailers found selling the two-kilogramme packet of subsidized maize flour above 90 shillings now risk a fine of one million shillings or a jail term of five years.
This marks the first time that the order has been issued under a law that was passed in 2011 allowing price control of essential goods.
The government subsidized the maize flour prices; 90kg bag of maize now sells at 2,300 shillings from over 4,000 shillings, leading to the cut of a 2kg packet of flour to sell at 90 shillings from 140 shillings at market price.
Friday Gazette notice –Price Control (Essential Goods)(Sifted White Maize Meal) Order, 2017 now backs the law. It allows punishment of those selling the flour above the set maximum price.
The law guiding the order states that “A person who contravenes the provisions of this Act commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a jail term not exceeding five years or to both.
The Business Daily wrote on Sunday that the rising price of the staple maize flour and other foods have become a political headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta as he seeks a second term in the August 8 General Election.
Upon consultation with the relevant industry, the law gives the Finance Minister the mandate to set maximum prices of essential commodities in the Gazette.
The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) said that they have been unable to meet the demand of the subsidized flour on reduced supply. They said that the Mexican maize that was imported on May 9 is inadequate.
The law comes in amid the skyrocketing food prices, the ever-rising cost of living, and inflation in prices of the food basket and food shortages caused by drought. This is a relief for Kenyan’s especially those living under the dollar as the law protects their interests.