‘Handshake still an option’: President Ruto’s Economic advisor David Ndii defends Gov’t salary delays

‘Handshake still an option’: President Ruto’s Economic advisor David Ndii defends Gov’t salary delays

The Chairperson of President William Ruto's Council of Economic Advisors David Ndii during a past interview. PHOTO | COURTESY

The Chairperson of President William Ruto's Council of Economic Advisors David Ndii on Saturday kicked up an online storm as he confronted questions over mounting public concerns on the state of the economy, and specifically the unprecedented delays in payment of salaries for civil servants.

Ndii went ballistic on his Twitter handle, dismissing concerns over reports of delayed salaries for civil servants saying the government's priority is paying debts and political stability.

When asked why the government appears broke, Ndii wrote: “it is reported every other day that that debt service is consuming 60 per cent plus of revenue. Liquidity crunches come with territory. When maturities bunch up, or revenue falls short, or markets shift, something has to give...salaries or default?”

Ndii told the outraged Twitter users that foreign debts is not the issue, stating that: “I am talking about weekly maturities of domestic debt held by your banks and pension funds (80% of debt service) which would you rather, a hair cut on your bank deposits or a delayed payments?”

As the conversations got more heated, Ndii was asked what could be the government's solution to the economic situation.

He replied by saying: “We could also retrench, that is an option”; this means thousands of civil servants could be glaring at job losses if Ndii's advise is acted upon by the President and, by extension, the public service.

While justifying this, Ndii added: “The first obligation of government is survival and political stability. The more dynasties forment destabilization the more we will have to spend on political stability. if push comes to shove handshake is always an option. How much you think that will cost?”

He claimed that former President Uhuru Kenyatta's handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga plunged the country into an economic crisis.

Ndii further claimed that the former Head of State was not paying the oil companies for the subsidies, stating: “We found Ksh.60B owing. We have paid Ksh.20B. Many of the independents have since folded as a result.”

Ndii's remarks comes at a time National Treasury officials are in Washington, the United States, for the 2023 spring meetings of the World Bank group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which take place in person from Monday, April 10 to Sunday, April 16.

Back home, the minority side of the National Assembly, says it will demand on Tuesday that Treasury Cabinet Secreatry Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u be summoned to appear before a full plenary over the current economic situation.

Saboti MP Caleb Amisi said: “This coming Tuesday, when we resume from recess we are going to summon all those Treasury heads...and we want the Kenya Kwanza side of Parliament not to shield any individual when we say it is their time to pack and go home.”

This comes after National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi on Friday penned a note of no confidence on officials from Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

For now, several civil servants await to be paid their March salaries.


David Ndii Economy President William Ruto CS Njuguna Ndung'u

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