Amid the high cost of fuel nationwide, Kenyan drivers living near the Namanga border are flocking to Tanzania in search of more affordable fuel as pump prices continue to rise.
It’s not just privately-owned vehicles making the journey; public service vehicles (PSVs), large commercial trucks, and motorcycle taxis (boda bodas) are also part of this migration.
One car owner expressed, “Tanzania’s fuel prices are cheaper than ours in Kenya.”
A truck driver added, “We fill up our tanks in Tanzania to at least keep us going because fuel prices in Kenya are high.”
At a petrol station located on the Tanzanian side of Namanga, a liter of petrol is sold for TZS 3,297, which converts to Ksh.193.49. Using an exchange rate of TZS 17 to a Kenyan shilling, the same product costs Ksh.206 in Kenya. This means that local petrol consumers save approximately Ksh.18 per liter by purchasing fuel in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, diesel is available for TZS 3,343, equivalent to Ksh.196.19. With the aforementioned exchange rate, Kenyan diesel consumers save at least Ksh.4 per liter by buying fuel across the border.
This exodus of Kenyan motorists is negatively impacting the businesses of Kenyan fuel retailers near the Namanga border, with most petrol stations either empty or experiencing significantly reduced activity. Retailers are now complaining about a sharp decline in customer numbers.
An attendant at one of the petrol stations lamented, “Many people prefer to cross the border. We’re left here with no work, and with the rising cost of living, where will we go?”
Given the Kenyan Government’s forecast of unchanged fuel prices next month, the trend at the Namanga border is expected to continue.