Debt repayments exceeded national government recurrent spending on items such as civil servant wages for the first time in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, illustrating the weight of expanding State borrowing. Between July 2022 and March 2023, Kenya boosted its debt repayment spending from Sh740.69 billion to Sh815.35 billion.
According to Treasury figures, this is the first time in Kenyan history that debt payments have exceeded recurrent expenditure, which totaled Sh814.7 during the period. According to Treasury figures, debt repayments, which totaled Sh273.64 billion in the nine months ending March 2016, had nearly quadrupled in the previous six years.
Debt repayments have taken up the equivalent of 58.52 percent of the Sh1.39 trillion in taxes collected in the nine months leading up to March 2023, leaving little money for road building, affordable housing, and reviving the failing health sector—all of which are essential for job creation and higher living standards.
Under Dr. Ruto’s predecessor, who made large investments in new train connections and other infrastructure, Kenya’s debt more than quadrupled to Sh8.66 trillion. Recurrent spending decreased by Sh4 billion to Sh542.6 billion under the Ruto and Kenyatta administrations, while development spending decreased by Sh32.7 billion to Sh106.7 billion.
Wages for government employees, costs associated with domestic and foreign travel, and fuel expenses for the fleet of vehicles used by the government are frequently included in recurring expenses.
The rising debt burden is the result of rapidly maturing commercial and semi-concessional loans contracted by the Jubilee administration in its early years in office to construct a modern railway, new road roads, bridges, and power plants.
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