Uhuru’s Plan to Tame Kenya’s Borrowing Spree

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Christopher Kirigua as the Director-General of the newly formed department for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

    The Head of State is reported to have held consultative meetings at State House on Monday, January 18 leading to the appointment of Kirigua as the DG of PPP which aims to curb further borrowing. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) with Treasury CS Ukur Yatani (left) at a past state function

    National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani revealed that Kirigua will be mandated with assessing current running projects in the Jubilee government with the aim of adopting a PPP model.

    Kirigua, an experienced professional in the financial sector, had been with Standard Chartered Kenya for 17 years prior to his appointment.

    Up until his exit, Kirigua was the Former Executive Director Regional Head of Sustainable Finance, Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank Kenya.

    Yatani stated that Kirigua’s role will be key in helping the country’s economy recover from the adversities of the Covid-19 pandemic and ease the debt burden.

    “The deliberations were based on the strengthening of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which is an important aspect of the economic recovery post-Covid-19. The director-general is an investment expert for the private sector,” Yatani stated.

    Yatani, however, clarified that Kiriguas’ appointment had not been necessitated by the effects of Covid-19 on the economy or the debt burden.

    “This matter has been in sitting for years. The role will include advising on the laws and coming up with proposed legislation and regulations on how best to engage the private sector to save the government from more borrowing,” Yatani stated.

    According to a report released by the treasury, Kenya’s public debt stood at Ksh7.3 trillion as of November 2020.

    “This was a normal engagement with regular briefings with all sector players. We are optimistic that the economy is on the recovery path and out of the woods,” Yatani added.

    Kirigua’s appointment comes on the back of an appeal by Yatani to raise the country’s debt ceiling from Ksh9 trillion to Ksh12 trillion. This is after he conceded that the country is yet to recover its revenue collection targets.

    PPP is set to bridge the gap between the national government and the local private sector with the aim of fostering an environment for conducive and profitable business relations.

    Foreign loans borrowed in billions have often seen the Treasury fork out billions in principal payment and billions in interests to the lenders.

    Kirigua walks into his new job at a time when China agreed to grant Kenya a six-month debt repayment holiday up to June 2021. This will see Kenya save Ksh55 billion.

     Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Director General Christopher Kirigua.
    Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Director General Christopher Kirigua.

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