Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Kenya’s public debt increases by Sh. 1.93 trillion in twelve months

Kenya’s public debt was on the rise in the period between January 2023 and December 2023.

The debt increased by Sh. 1.93 trillion in the twelve month period to hit Sh. 11.14 trillion. This has been interpreted as amounting to an increase of Sh. 5.29 billion per day for the whole of year 2023.

“The gross public debt as at December 31, 2023, increased by Sh. 1.93 trillion to Sh. 11.1397 trillion compared to Sh. 9.2 trillion as at the end of December 2022. The gross public debt comprised 54.7 per cent external debt and 45.3 per cent domestic debt,” the National Treasury said in an economic review report.

The public debt comprises both external and domestic debt. Data from the Central Bank of Kenya had indicated that 2023 would see a sharp increase in total public debt.

For instance, the total public debt stood at Sh. 10.2 trillion as of June 2023, compared to Sh. 8.6 trillion recorded in June 2022.

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This in turn increased the debt to GDP ratio to 70.2 per cent as of June 2023, which was 20.1 per cent points higher than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) threshold of 50 per cent for developing countries, up from the 66.7 per cent recorded in June 2022.

For the full year 2023 period, the CBK blamed the hike in public debt on among others the weakening of the Kenya Shilling against the US dollar.

“The increase in the public debt is attributed to external loan disbursements; exchange rate fluctuations; and uptake of domestic debt during the period,” the CBK stated.

During the 12-month period to December 2023, the Kenya shilling depreciated by more than 26 per cent.

This was an over three-fold rise in the devaluation rate compared to the 8.3 per cent the shilling lost against the greenback in the whole of year 2022.

This 2023 performance was the worst for the shilling in 30 years, having previously shed a record 89 per cent value against the dollar in 1993 on the back of near hyperinflation.

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