KAKAMEGA, Kenya— Deputy President William Ruto in a dramatic change of position criticized the government’s heavy borrowing of foreign loans to finance development projects.
Ruto who essentially should be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s principal assistant censured his administration on seeking lends saying it continues to cripple the economy.
“I think you have all heard that as of today, even the unborn babies owe our lenders,” Ruto said on Sunday.
He spoke during a service at Friends Church Kivaywa, Matete, Lugari Constituency in Kakamega County.
According to Dr. Ruto, the public debt is complicating the lives of Kenyans especially youth who most of them lost jobs to the Covid-19 pandemic and thus cannot pay taxes.
He insisted that economic empowerment (Hustler nation empowerment), of Kenyans at the grassroots level was the only solution to reducing the government’s borrowing appetite.
“When everyone is empowered, citizens are able to pay taxes and the government will have enough revenue. We will not resort to lenders like China to extend loans to us. These loans we have acquired are bringing us bad luck,” Ruto said.
He added, “The only way to end this indebtedness is to enable citizens in the villages to do lucrative businesses.”
As of January 2021, Kenya’s public debt stood at Ksh 7.28 as reported by Haron Sirima, director-general in charge of public debt management at the National Treasury to a Senate committee.
Jubilee administration took over from former president Mwai Kibaki’s 10 years regime that set a debt at 1.89 trillion. Within 8 years President Uhuru’s administration has borrowed about sh. 5.48 trillion.
The DP who once supported the Jubilee manifesto said if elected, his ‘hustler’ administration would empower the masses, support businesses, and make them profitable – strong enough to pay taxes.
“We will turn around the country’s economy. We will not be starting from the top. We will start from down here where citizens are doing their businesses. We will put money for businesses in your shops here,” he said.
Ruto’s remarks come days after the president accused him of double-talking and even dared him to resign if he cannot bear the failures and successes of the jubilee administration regime.