Kenyan government cuts spending to reduce budget deficit

26 Jan 18

The government of Kenya will cut spending to lower its budget deficit to internationally accepted levels in the next five years, the Treasury has said.

In a budget document, the finance ministry said it would reduce the deficit, which grew to 8.9% of gross domestic product in the financial year last June, to 6.0% in the financial year from next July and to 3.0% by 2022.

Kenya has been criticised for failing to cut borrowing after its debt has gone up in the past five years, including spending on infrastructure projects such as a modern railway line.

The government of president Uhuru Kenyetta, who was sworn in for a second term in November, contracted debt from international capital markets to build infrastructure projects, including much-needed roads, bridges and power plants.

This brought the total public debt up to more than 50% of GDP.

Economic growth was estimated at 4.8% last year, the official document said, down from the government’s last estimate of 5.1% growth for the year in November.

Last month, the World Bank said the wide fiscal deficit was one of the main risks facing Kenya’s economic outlook.

In May last year, the US suspended $21m in aid to Kenya’s Ministry of Health amid concerns over “weak accounting procedures”. 

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