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Kenya's Ruto Pledges cutting expenditure After Protests

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Ayize claire

Jul 5, 2024

Kenya's Ruto Pledges Spending Cuts After Protests

Kenyan President William Ruto addresses a press conference at the State House in Nairobi, June 26, 2024.

Kenyan President William Ruto on Friday announced spending cuts of 177 billion shillings ($1.39 billion) for the fiscal year starting in July, following weeks of nationwide protests that led to the scrapping of planned tax hikes. To cover the 346 billion shilling shortfall from withdrawing the finance bill, the government will increase borrowing by 169 billion shillings.

The protests, initially peaceful but later turning violent, have posed the biggest challenge to Ruto's two-year-old presidency. Rights groups reported hundreds of arrests and at least 39 deaths due to the government's heavy-handed response, sparking fears of rights violations.

In a televised address, Ruto stated that the budget deficit is now projected at 4.6% of GDP for the 2024/25 financial year, up from an earlier estimate of 3.3%. He outlined measures to cut spending, including dissolving 47 state corporations, reducing government advisors by 50%, and suspending non-essential travel for public officials.

"Budget lines for the operations of the Office of the First Lady, the spouse of the Deputy President, and the Prime Cabinet Secretary will be removed," Ruto said, adding that public servants aged 60 and above must retire immediately.

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