Kenya’s public debt continues to balloon, further putting much pressure on the already heavily-taxed Kenyans as the government tries to pay back.
At the beginning of 2018, Kenya’s debt hit a 5 trillion shilling mark, more than 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the Treasury borrowing appetite continued to roar to ‘greater heights.’
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had raised concerns over Kenya’s soaring appetite to borrow which the two bodies warned, that will be unmanageable. The national treasury dismissed the ‘concerns’ and said that the country was ‘still within a borrowing range.’
It has now emerged that the debt is too high until the Treasury has opted to hire debt management experts that “will provide guidance in determining borrowing ceilings for national and county governments.”
The National Treasury is currently seeking 20 debt management experts in what some economic experts such as David Ndii have lightly termed as “seeking receiver managers” to handle a country going down in debts.
The country’s public debt hit the 5 trillion mark in June 2018. The debt has grown from 0.5 trillion shillings in 1999 to 5 trillion shillings with more than 60 percent of the borrowing taking place during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term.
A big junk of Kenya’s debt is external, standing at 2.56 trillion shillings as at the end of February 2018 with domestic debt standing at 2.448 trillion shillings as at the end of May 2018 bring the total to 5.011 trillion shillings.
China is the largest lender to Kenya, accounting for 72 percent of all foreign debts in Kenya. China’s loans to Kenya increased from 453 billion shillings in 2014 to 534 billion shillings at the end of March 2018.
One of the largest projects that have received funding from China includes the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which Kenyans are already paying close to one billion shillings every month for its maintenance.