During the week, the Senate in Kenya gave the government a green light to borrow at will as long as the debt does not go beyond 9 trillion shillings.
The go-ahead by the Senate means Kenyans will soon be in more trouble than ever before in terms of the ever ballooning public debt.
The government of Kenya has already borrowed 6.5 trillion shillings. The majority of the loans were set to mature in the next 12 months meaning Kenya is already looking at a complete economic lockdown.
With the permission from the Senate, the National Treasury, which has already admitted that it is broke, now has room to borrow 2.5 trillion shillings more to hit the ceiling set at 9 trillion shillings.
In the just-concluded National Census, Kenya has about 47,564,296 people. Dividing this number with the ceiling of 9 trillion shillings, every Kenyans will soon owe at least 189,218 shillings.
The sad reality is the bulk of the loans that will be taken afresh will be used to pay off other loans that will have matured. It is like digging one hole to fill the other.
The Jubilee government has been blamed for going into a borrowing spree without putting in place the mechanisms to protect the borrowed funds given that the country loses more than 1 trillion shillings annually.
During the vote to set the debt ceiling at 9 trillion shillings, only 7 senators voted against the move. The senators who stood their ground and voted against the more are:
Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had raised their concerns about Kenya’s appetite for borrowing as well as the failure to minimize the wastage of public funds. During the week, however, the IMF hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to fight corruption.