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February 21, 2018

State seeks Sh40bn to support budget

The Central Bank of Kenya along Haile Selassie Avenue
The Central Bank of Kenya along Haile Selassie Avenue

Kenya has put up for sale two Sh40 billion treasury bonds for budgetary support. This comes as the government looks for funds to service its bloated Cabinet.

 The President added a new post of Chief Administrative Secretary to the Cabinet. With CSs and PSs on the payroll as well, taxpayers will part with Sh1.2 billion per year in salaries alone.

 The two bonds, which went up for sale this week until Tuesday, will later be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange’s secondary market from February 27. “The Central Bank, acting as a fiscal agent for the Republic of Kenya, is offering the investing public an opportunity to invest in two 15-year fixed coupon Treasury bonds for budgetary support,” said the bank in a prospectus yesterday.

 The government is offering 10.25 and 12 per cent interest on the two bonds expected to mature on March 10, 2025 and April 10, 2028 respectively. Investors have until February 21 to place bids for the bonds starting from Sh50,000 to Sh20 million. Payments above Sh1 million must be made by Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGs) while those below Sh1 million may be made by cash, banker’s cheque to reach CBK not later than March 26.

 This is the second bond the government is floating this year, after issuing a 15-year infrastructure bond worth Sh40 billion in mid-January, exerting more pressure on the ballooning public debt that is likely to break the Sh5 trillion ceiling by the end of the financial year. Although it was indicated the bond is to offer budgetary support, speculation is rife on the exact purpose of the new bond, coming at the time Kenya is marketing its Eurobond of up to $3 billion (Sh300 billion) in the US.

While some think the bond is to support the soaring wage bill bloated by recent Cabinet appointments, others think it is meant to settle two foreign debts due in March and April.

The wage bill has been on the rise, moving from Sh341 billion last financial year to Sh409.2 billion. Although the Treasury in its draft budget policy statement had planned to cut it to Sh401 billion, the expanded Cabinet is likely to push it further. Last year, the IMF raised the red flag on Kenya’s growing wage bill.







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