COST OF LIVING

Debt must become the election issue

We should hear from presidential aspirants how they will tackle crisis

In Summary

• The Treasury told MPs on Wednesday that cutting fuel taxes would make the Budget unworkable

• Kenya's debt has ballooned to Sh7.7 trillion largely because of unprofitable infrastructure projects 

Some of the presidential aspirants
Some of the presidential aspirants
Image: FILE

On Wednesday the Treasury PS told the parliamentary Finance Committee that it was not feasible to reduce fuel taxes. 

Kenyan politicians need to wake up. There is no room to cut taxes.

The country is on the verge of defaulting on its debt. Two weeks ago, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, until recently a calming voice, warned that Kenya could not afford any increase to its bloated Sh7.7 trillion public debt.

The MPs should realise that a debt default would be catastrophic. Inflation and interest rates would soar, the Kenya shilling would collapse, and imports would be disrupted. The negative impact of a debt default would be far worse than the pain of increased excise taxes and fuel prices.

Parliament should not undermine the Budget by slashing taxes. MPs themselves approved the infrastructure spending that is largely responsible for this cash crunch. 

We should now hear from all the potential presidential candidates about how they will deal with Kenya's debt. Only Musalia Mudavadi has publicly addressed the issue. We cannot avoid higher taxes today because of our debt burden, but what will the next President do to sort out this mess?

Quote of the day: "Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master."

Sallust
The Roman historian was born on October 1, 86 BC

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