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Treasury Flounders as the National Piggy Bank is Emptied

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The Treasury is “sourcing for alternative funds,” according to the Daily Nation, after an indeterminate delay in launching the sovereign bond that was expected to raise up to Ksh33 billion. In addition, the current budget will also neglect the value of any privatisation deals, as these haven’t quite been finalised just yet.

In a statement released to the press at the end of last week, the Treasure said,

Efforts are at an advance[d] stage to secure alternative funding to
replace the delayed issuance of the sovereign bond following recent
developments in the international financial markets.

Translation: now that the global carnival of exuberant spending is over, people have recovered their senses and realised that they don’t want to gamble their money on lending anything to our skeevy asses. We’re looking for a sugar-daddy to take up the slack.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but why is it that both the government and the media persist in pretending that the global slowdown is a big surprise that has caught them with their trousers down? I’m not any kind of expert, but I could have told you in September 2007 that the global economy was heading for a fall. And that’s without a team of economists and highly-paid consultants; I just happen to do a lot of reading.

Granted, with the shenanigans after the elections last year, everything was up in the air, and putting together a coherent national budget may not have been the foremost priority for those in power. But to claim that they have been overtaken by “recent events” is both disingenuous and worrying. The budget deficit now stands at Ksh127 billion. If the people who have been caught on the hop are the same ones who are charged with getting us out of this mess, what hope is there for the economy?

It’s not events in the international financial system that have caused the delay in the sovereign bond; while that plays a part, soundings were probably taken and all the likely investors declined to support this latest money-making scheme. As for the proposed privatisations, expect them to come in cheaply for the buyers, with a loss in levels of service for consumers, because if ever there is a chance for corruption and strong-arm tactics in a deal, it is when one party is desperate while the other is in a better negotiating position. Make no mistake, the Treasury is desperate. And it has 127 billion reasons to pimp out the national economy to get itself out of this hole.

[Image by EndlessStudio]


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