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Government needs to borrow for development projects.

That every Kenyan should pay an estimated Sh100,000 for the government to repay the national debt is worrying. The government has to borrow for us to have development projects done. However, it is important to balance between development and external borrowing. We need development but it is also important to control our external borrowing. Also, the country would rather borrow from outside than from local banks or financial institutions. The government borrowing much from local banks at the expense of the public would be straining financial institutions that are not comfortable lending to citizens.

There is no country that does not borrow from outside, even the richest economies, because they cannot be able to finance their budgets without borrowing.

We are among developing economies and in so much need. We cannot do all development without borrowing from outside the country. So long as we are investing in development projects that will enable us to repay the loans, I think we should not be worried if the money is properly invested. If the projects, such as the multi-billion shilling Standard Gauge Railway, should sustain or repay their own loans, then it is a working investment because it is bringing development to our country.

The government can take any advice from any quarter, including me, regarding its borrowing, but it can decide on its own whether to take the advice or not. Even if the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are international organizations sometimes warn the Kenyan government on borrowing, the final decision rests with the government. The government can either decide to accept or reject the advice. The government has the agenda of the country at heart and has the responsibility of that agenda. The World Bank and IMF do not have the monopoly of wisdom on what the government should do, because it knows the limits or extent to which it should borrow.

Individually, you will know if you have borrowed much but if you do your math and know that the borrowing can repay itself, then you can relax. The country should similarly look at borrowing from this point of view. So long as we are able to repay that loan, why should we be worried? So far, the development projects the Jubilee government has invested in from the borrowing, including geothermal and SGR, are beneficial to the country.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 8, 2018
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