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Billionaire Buzeki fires 300 staff over high fuel prices & scales down operations

We sent 300 staff packing. We still have some employed. Things are tough and this is the truth - Buzeki

File image of businessman Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich alias Buzeki

Kenyan businessman Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich, popularly known as Buzeki has revealed that the high cost of fuel and prevailing business environment has forced his company to fire 300 staff.

The businessman made the revelations on Saturday, January 13, stating that his logistics company scaled down its operations significantly owing to the harsh business environment brought about by high fuel prices.

He added that just a few staff remained at the company that was once a giant in the transport and logistics business, painting a grim picture of how tough things are.

"We parked trucks from November 1, 2023, as the increase in fuel prices rendered the business unprofitable,” Buzeki noted, revealing the far-reaching implications of the high fuel prices especially after President William Ruto’s government ended fuel subsidies.

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In June 2023, Members of Parliament approved raising of Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel to 16 per cent from 8 per cent, a move which saw the price of the commodity shoot sharply.

“We sent 300 staff packing. We still have some employed. Things are tough and this is the truth.” He added.

Impact of Ruto's government decision

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As a result of the increase in VAT, Buzeki revealed that his company not only downsized, but also got rid of old trucks which were sent to scrapyards with banks repossessing some that the company had acquired on credit.

"Due to the rise in VAT, we are now officially downsizing with immediate effect. All old trucks, including those with Euro 3 and below, will be sent to the scrap yard," Buzeki stated back in June.

The company that was at one time a major employer in the country is now a shell of its former self after more staff were shown the door.

With a fleet of hundreds of trucks, Buzeki Enterprises offered transport services to players in the manufacturing, distribution, and agricultural sectors.

A recent report released by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) revealed a significant drop in petroleum consumption in Kenya during the first quarter of the 2023/24 fiscal year.

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The decline is attributed to the government's decision to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate on petroleum products from 8% to 16%.

In June 2023, Kenyan MPs voted to double the value-added tax (VAT) levied on fuel to 16%, a decision that was met with mixed reactions, with some arguing that it would add to the rising cost of living.

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