Over 200,000 Kenyans have in the past 24 hours signed an online petition asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel the recently approved loan of Sh255 billion to Kenya.
They are aggrieved by the Jubilee administration’s huge appetite for borrowing without proper accountability for the funds, adding that the country is already overburdened with loans.
“This (petition) is in recognition of the fact that previous loans to the Kenya government have not been prudently utilized and have often resulted in mega corruption scandals. The scandals have not deterred the ruling regime from more appetite for more loans, especially from China. Right now, Kenyans are choking under the heavy burden of taxation, with the cost of basic commodities such as fuel skyrocketing, and nothing to show for the previous loans,” reads part of the petition spearheaded by Jefferson Murrey.
But Treasury CS Ukur Yatani says the IMF loan is necessary to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce debt vulnerabilities.
IMF on Saturday announced it approved a $2.34 billion loan to Kenya to help support the country’s COVID-19 response.
The Washington-based international lender said its executive board approved the 38-month program under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
“The three-year financing package will support the next phase of the authorities’ COVID-19 response and their plan to reduce debt vulnerabilities while safeguarding resources to protect vulnerable groups,” IMF said in a statement.
IMF deputy managing director Antoinette Sayeh said that the “Kenyan authorities have demonstrated a strong commitment to fiscal reforms during this unprecedented global shock, and Kenya’s medium-term prospects remain positive."
The 2021 Budget Policy Statement indicates that Kenya’s public debt stood at Sh7. 06 trillion as of June 2020, equivalent to 65 percent of the GDP.