In his New Year speech to the nation from State House, Nakuru, President William Ruto acknowledged that 2023 had been a particularly difficult year for Kenyans.
Speaking on Sunday, the President assured his electorate that the difficult part was over and the country was heading into 2024 with a sense of optimism.
Despite the President’s reassurance to the nation, the cloud of a Ksh300 billion Eurobond repayment in June 2024 threatened to make 2024 yet another difficult year for Kenyans in terms of economic growth and cost of living.
In 2023 alone, Kenya borrowed in the external market over Ksh300 billion (USD 2 billion) and collected over Ksh1 trillion in taxes.
President William Ruto speaking from State House, Nakuru on December 31, 2023.
A huge sum of the money collected went into servicing a crippling Ksh11 trillion debt with less allocated to the development agenda.
Ruto remarked that his administration had put adequate measures in place to ensure debt repayment does not plunge Kenya into recession.
“In 2023, we triumphed over the threat of hunger and economic stagnation. Kenya is now secure with regard to foreign debts,” he stated.
While the President has vowed that Kenya will not negate its international obligations, it is the domestic front that will be affected by the Eurobond repayment.
Civil servants are projected to experience salary delays as well as county bosses bracing themselves for delays in disbursement of devolved funds.
On December 6, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u while appearing before National Assembly Finance Committee confessed that the government was facing an economic crisis.
He explained that the Treasury was struggling to pay salaries – a situation that will worsen with the maturity of the Eurobond in June 2024.
Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi on December 27, revealed that President William Ruto was taking the issue of debt repayment and economic stability seriously heading to 2024.
He explained that Ruto was holding numerous meetings at the State House to ensure that the situation did not bankrupt the nation.
“The debate and discussion around the many options available and the decisions taken in the interest of the country continue to pay off,” he revealed.
The team advising the President is led by David Ndii who is the Chairperson of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Should the team successfully navigate Kenya through the June 2024 repayment, the President will be able to execute most of his development projects in the subsequent years.
The country is only expected to pay less than Ksh15 billion in 2025 towards debt servicing.
President’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) chairperson David Ndii