Retailers Will Pay Fine or Face A 5-year Jail Term If They Sell Maize Flour Above Sh100

Traders will risk paying a fine of Sh1 million or a five-year jail term if they sell maize flour above Sh100. This is after the reining and outgoing government signed a pact with millers. To cushion manufacturers, the government will offer subsidies to close the gap from the current price of Sh210 a packet. The government says this scheme will go on for the next four weeks and possibly a few days after the August 9 General Election.

The move is powered by the constitution under the Price Control (Essential Goods) Act, 2011. that states The Minister may, from time to time, by order in the Gazette, declare any goods to be essential commodities for the purposes of this Act and determine the maximum prices of the commodities in consultation with the industry.

The Government will therefore open an ESCROW account under the watch of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Kenya. “Oversight committee shall be formed with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Treasury, Cereal Millers Association, and Grain Millers Association to oversee the effective working and success of the subsidy program,” said the Ministry of Agriculture

This move is similar to one made in 2017, just before the General Election where the current government capped maize prices as Sh90 a packet from Sh143. Whether this is being used for political mileage or not, Kenyans will catch their breath with the lower prices, at time inflation hit a 58-month high of 7.9 percent in June. This is 0.3 percent higher than Treasury’s preferred upper limit. The state is expected to gazette the notice on the capped prices.

The Cereal Millers Association however says the prices are unlikely to come down with immediate effect since the high-priced stock of maize flour is still in supply on the market.


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