LOAN TRAP

LEADER: State should tame raging debt appetite

The country is living beyond its means and this cannot go on forever.

In Summary

• The current external debt will take the country about 71 years to clear, with some of the loans attracting interest in the range of billions.

• Today, for every Sh100 collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority, the country is using Sh57 to repay loans, both domestic and external.

Data on Kenya’s external loans seen by the Star shows the country has 62 pending external loans amounting to more than Sh3 trillion.

This debt will take the country about 71 years to clear, with some loans attracting interest in billions of shillings.

For instance, in 2017, Kenya borrowed Sh288.1 billion at  9.4 per cent from the Trade and Development Bank. This means that the loan due by April 10, 2036, will attract Sh27 billion in interest alone.

While it is important to finance various development projects, plunging the country into a debt trap is wrong.

Today, for every Sh100 collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority, the country is using Sh57 to repay loans, both domestic and external.

Another Sh45 pays salaries and pensions, leaving very little to cater for other needs including development.

If Kenya was a person, he-she would be living way beyond their means.

It is even more disturbing that Kenya is borrowing new loans to settle existing ones.

For instance, in May Kenya floated a sovereign bond, whose proceedings were partly used to pay off another one it got in 2019.

It is time the President, Treasury and Parliament came together to deal with the ballooning debt to save the country from going broke.