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Public debt manageable despite slow growth, PS

Harrison Kivisu @PeopleDailyKe

Treasury principal secretary Kamau Thugge has said that public debt is still manageable despite slow economic growth in the first quarter of the year.

“Our public debt is manageable and it is quite commendable the rate of public debt is declining. We are optimistic that by the end of this year we will have achieved a six per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth that in turn translates to a promising economic growth,”said Thugge.

Manage repayments

The PS said the State’s commitment in the reduction of physical deficits, coupled with the prevailing peaceful environment following the famous handshake made the government project a six per cent GDP growth by the end of the year.

This comes even as a recent Sub-Saharan Africa Outlook report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that Kenya and Uganda are among countries at debt risk if they do not put in place better policies to manage their commercial debt repayments.

The institution further advised that the two need to strengthen their capacity to undertake cost-risk analysis of borrowing options and manage repayments on commercial borrowing.

The PS who was speaking in Mombasa during the premier public finance and tax conference organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) pointed out that the State is creating strong economic buffers through infrastructure, manufacturing and agricultural sectors to steer the “Big Four” agenda.

Coupled with the country’s plans to open up the untapped blue economy – which is leveraging on Kenya’s expansive coastline and inland waters cover of up to 222,950 square kilometres – the potential to tap into this sector will help spur growth further in the short term.

The growth of coastal, marine and maritime sector can deliver food, energy, transport, among other products and services and serve as a foundation for sustainable development.

The PS said that the government is targeting a five per cent growth in the agricultural sector and a three per cent in the manufacturing sector by the end of the year.

Speaking during the event, ICPAK vice chair Dennis Osodo, however, reiterated that the government still needs to look at its revenue collection model and ensure they do not harm the public who are still bearing the brunt of the high cost of living.

“We still think the government needs to re-look at the tax theories to ensure there is a stable economic growth as well as a balanced revenue generation,”said osodo.

He said that for the government to achieve the big agendas put in place, it needs to expand it’s revenue base but not through taxing basic commodities.

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