Airtime has toppled rent as the top expenditure item in the basket of goods that determine the cost of living in Kenya.

To be classified among the top earners in Nairobi, one must be spending at least Sh184,395 per month.

In a report, whose results on the cost of living were released Tuesday, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has reviewed the weight in the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket of goods from 3.086 percent to 5.496.

Food is no longer the most important.

Naturally, this means any change in airtime prices will have a direct impact on the cost of living. It’s also set to bring the centrality of communication in the day-to-day living of an ordinary Kenyan.

Food is no longer the most important component of the new basket of goods after it came in fifth on the list. However, if you add all the food items and non-alcoholic beverages, food is still the most important item.

Bus fare came in second.

Bus fare comes second (3.161), followed by house rent — for a single room — (2.849). Hotel and restaurant meals come in fourth (2.849) while beef with bones is fifth (2.805).

Other top 10 items are house rent (for a two-bedroom apartment), packeted fresh milk, beer (lagers and stouts), fresh unpacked milk and white bread in that order.

Beer was never on the top 10 commodities in the basket and coming at number eight means Kenyans are now spending more on alcohol. KNBS notes that due to changes in lifestyle, consumer behaviour, tastes and preferences, some items that were initially in the basket were dropped.

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