The recent efforts made by the Mps to expand the National Oil Corporation gas stations across the country might be a reprieve to fuel consumers in Kenya who have for a long time suffered in the hands of oil cartels.
Cartels in the oil industry have been known for their efforts to frustrate Government’s regulatory measures and disrupt economic stability for them to continue to thrive in scarcity and general hardships.
This has largely been contributed to by the fact that the oil sector is controlled by very few companies that always strive to maximize their profits in this lucrative oil market.
The inefficiency exhibited by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) in curbing the consumer from hiked prices has also provided a leeway for these cartels to siphon public money.
Although NOCK, 100 percent owned by the Government, was established three decades ago with a mandate of participating in all aspects of the Kenyan petroleum industry it has failed in its duty of creating an offset in the oil market which has been thrown off the balance by the cartels with an realistic pump prices.
Nock which is involved in upstream activities such as exploration, geological research, and production; and in downstream activities such as maintenance of a petroleum products retail network lacks the capacity to take charge of the oil industry which is largely controlled by multi international companies.
This is believed to have informed Members of Parliament to propose Ksh2billion to boost Nock to expand its retail business which in the long run will shield Kenyans currently paying through the nose to purchase basic commodities such food from exploitation by the oil cartels.
Nock told the MPs that it needed Ksh1 billion for “retail expansion” and Ksh 1.6 billion to build a petroleum terminal and a truck-loading facility in Mombasa.
This call comes at a time when all other oil marketers except Nock adjusted their pump prices upward by Ksh.3 per liter for super petrol and kerosene to match up with recent ERC’s fuel prices review.
The state owned Corporation reduced pump prices by Ksh2 per litre to sell at Ksh119.10 for super petrol and for Ksh107.40 diesel.
Nock’s limited retail network is likely to limit its effectiveness against its rivals but the move by MPs is expected to ensure that the country is not exposed to these manipulative multinationals.