The Kenya shilling is trading at an all-time low of Sh. 119 to the US dollar. The shilling has been losing approximately Sh. 1 every month.
This 2022 year alone, the shilling has crushed from around Sh. 104 to the US dollar to the current historic lows.
This free fall now means that under the regime of the outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta, the shilling has real time lost value by 45 per cent. A Sh. 1,000 in July 2013 is now worth just Sh. 548.60 today.
This means that consumers can no longer stretch the shilling as they used to prior to President Uhuru’s tenure as head of State.
In tandem, purchasing power has reduced. A half litre packet of milk that cost Sh. 38 in 2013 is today retailing at Sh. 58. The average price of a kilo of beef has jumped to Sh. 521 from Sh. 343 a decade ago.
A litre of petrol is today retailing at Sh. 159.94 in Nairobi, up from Sh. 111.30 in July 2013. Without the subsidy being paid by the government, it would be retailing at Sh. 209.78.
Electricity charges have also gone up, with the lowest tariff going from Sh. 10.16 per unit in 2013 to Sh. 15.94.
The fall of the shilling has been gradual but steady and painful. Official data shows that as at 2011, Sh. 1,000 could easily buy 10 items – say a kilo beef, tomatoes, English potatoes, rice, matumbo and dry beans.
You could also add in your shopping basket a 300ml bottle of soda, a matchbox, a packet of cigarettes – for the smokers – and a bottle of Tusker Lager for those who consume such beverages.
What’s more, after your shopping, you would be left with Sh. 35 that could come in handy as bus fare.
By 2020, however, you needed an additional Sh. 627 to buy the same items, according to retail prices of select consumer products given by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The fall of the shilling has also come at a time when the cost of living is blowing through the roof. For instance, the overall year on year inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 8.3 per cent, in July 2022.