Kenyans urge IMF to cancel over $2bn loan

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ANGRY Kenyans on Tuesday took to social media to protest a $2.34bn International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to Kenya, arguing that the East African country is already overburdened with loans.

More than  160,000 Kenyans have signed an online petition, asking the IMF to cancel the recently approved loan as previous disbursements to Kenya have been lost in corruption scandals and remain unpaid.

Nairobi, however, has argued that the amount is necessary to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and reduce debt vulnerabilities.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani says access to vaccines is critical, and help from the international community is urgently required.

Antoinette Sayeh, IMF deputy managing director, said in a statement that ‘the Kenyan authorities have demonstrated a strong commitment to fiscal reforms during this unprecedented global shock, and Kenya’s medium-term prospects remain positive.’

Saalim Gooner, a Facebook user, posted on the official IMF Facebook page, asking: ‘Why are you approving loans to this irresponsible government of Kenya? You are sinking our economy deeper.’

Mwihaki Mwangi, another social media activist, commented: ‘Stop lending money to [the] Kenyan government. It ends up in few corrupt pockets. No change in living standards to the common citizens. We are becoming poorer and poorer. Heavy taxes levied on our meagre salaries. Reverse the loans. We don’t need it.’

On Twitter, the ‘International Monetary Fund’ was trending all day with more than 10,000 posts from Kenyans.

 

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