Uhuru Defends Kenya’s Ballooning Public Debt

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President Uhuru Uhuru Kenyatta has come out swinging to defend his administration’s seemingly insatiable appetite for borrowing saying it is important for growth and development.

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Citing Asian countries’ stellar growth that is enviable across the world, Mr. Kenyatta said that it was debt that got them to where they are today and stressing that debt is the only way out for many countries, Kenya included.

“On this, I want to pose a national question. How much is too much borrowing? When does borrowing become too much and unbearable to a nation?” posed the Head of State during the 59th Madaraka Day Celebrations held at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

“The only time debt is a burden to a nation is if a nation is led by looters. But in the hands of a visionary administration, debt is a catalyst for rapid development.”

Mr. Kenyatta singled out South Korea which he says achieved her economic miracle in a record 25 years while having the reputation of being the fourth most indebted country in the world.

The South Koreans did not call it debt, they called it using other people’s money to advance their cause. What this means is that nations that have advanced have not necessarily used their own money especially when not endowed with natural resources, they have borrowed from others to catch up and to become world economic leaders,” he said.

According to the president, in order for Kenya to keep up the pace of increased and accelerated achievement, the next administration should not be afraid to borrow.

“The next administration should not shy away from using other people’s money. Debt, in a cleaned up government is an enabler not a burden,” he said while insisting his borrowing was worth it.

“On my part, I believe we have used other people’s money to close our infrastructure gap to connect our markets… If we can transport 10 times more passengers with SGR at half the price and half the time and move three times more cargo daily from Mombasa to our neighbours, then our borrowing has surely been worthwhile and paid tangible dividends.”

The President decided to answer his critics using the “Asian miracle” model employed by Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea who all took 25 years to industrialise.

“In just one generation, they were at par with the Western world. The afro-pessimists who were constantly bombarding us with nonsense will tell you that Kenya cannot replicate this miracle, I want to assure you, they are wrong and we are right,” he said.

Mr. Kenyatta said that in nine years, Kenya has moved from being the 12th largest economy in Africa to 6th and still growing.

“In the same time, we have tripled the wealth of our nation from a GDP of 4.5 trillion in 2013 to close to 13 trillion today,” he added.

President Kenyatta defended his legacy saying he has also fought corruption saying he had to result to bringing on board military personnel.

“Some have accused me of militarising our country, I have no such intentions, Kenya is a democracy and shall always remain a democracy,” he said.

“But I did not hesitate and will not hesitate to use our disciplined services to correct and to do that which others have failed to do.”

President Kenyatta also took the chance to defend his legacy that he has also built more roads than Kenya’s previous regimes combined.

“I have built more roads than other regimes combined, na huo ndiyo ukweli wa mambo, wapende wasipende,” President Kenyatta said. 

“Kuna tofauti kubwa ya kazi na kelele. Wale wanafanya kazi ndiyo wanabadilisha Kenya, sio wale wa kupiga kelele,”

Source: citizen digital

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