“Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people”
Numbers, huge sums of money, mind boggling debt, billions in expenditure, very few people like these or can process articles about such quickly while dealing with the other hassles and vagaries of daily life in a third world republic.
Lately I have felt that I have been inundated with news to do with just such numbers. Whenever I look at headlines all I see are staggering figures bandied about like they were mere exercises in mathematics class, except they are not.
We are in trouble, we have let unbridled expenditure coupled with borrowing at the rate of a drunken sailor take hold of our lives.
Kenya’s gross domestic debt (government’s borrowing from the local markets) had in June this year hit the trillion-shilling mark up from 859 billion twelve months ago.
We already have an external debt burden of Sh800 billion, therefore the national debt comes to about Sh1.8 trillion, which is basically one half of our Sh3.6 trillion economy.
That is not all, we have during this August borrowed another 425 Billion Shillings from China, this means our external debt is now more than 1.25 trillion Shillings, there’s a ceiling on how much we can borrow externally and this ceiling is 1.2trillion which we have exceeded.
And lest we forget: “Debt is an ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver. ”
While looking at these figures we have to remember that there’s no record of anyone having ever managed to wildly spend their way out of a slow economic growth or to borrow their way out of debt, certainly spending money we don’t have by borrowing more and more while our debt burden rises cannot be good economics.
Meanwhile I read today that in our country a Judicial Service Commissioner ‘earns’ Sh80,000 for every sitting, and that in the last year; the JSC held 247 meetings, meaning a commissioner who attended all 247 meetings took home Sh1.6 million every month in allowances, coming to a total of KES 19,760,000.00 per year. This then led to a situation in which in the 2012/2013 financial year, commissioners gobbled up Sh377 million in allowances for board meetings, conferences and seminars, foreign travel and subsistence, catering service and accommodation, gifts, food and drinks and legal fees.
The CJ had a house bought for him at 310 million, when the initial budget was 200 million.
Remember, while this was going on we couldn’t pay teachers, policemen, and health workers the pittance we offer for their crucial services.
The government also had time to throw in half a billion for offices for a retired president, as well spend another half a billion shillings building a home for him on his private land at Mweiga.
And then there was the plan to blow Sh2.5 billion on celebrations to mark 50 years of Kenya’s independence with: Sh690 million for events management and logistics, Sh286 million for conference and exhibition during the one week celebration, Sh300 million for publicity and communication, Sh365 million for entertainment and a handsome Sh320 million to go towards identifying Kenya’s most prominent personalities.
It also includes Sh50 million for erecting a bronze statue of retired President Mwai Kibaki
And we think MPigs are the worst of the lot?