Raila eyes talks to cut Kenya's short term loans cost


UK Minister of Armed Forces James Heappey (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga discuss matters appertaining to security with a view of enhancing our ties moving into the future. PHOTO | POOL

Opposition leader Raila Odinga will renegotiate short term commercial loans with punitive interest rates to cushion Kenya’s economy from collapsing, should he win the presidential poll on August 9.

Mr Odinga said seeking favourable terms for such loans will help the country service the debts while at the same time having money to invest into the economy.

“We have two categories of loans but the short-term commercial debts with shorter times of repayment and higher interest rates are the ones that are punitive and we intend to find a way of renegotiating the repayment rates,” said Mr Odinga.

He was speaking during a meeting with United Kingdom (UK) MPs at the House of Commons led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s trade envoy to Kenya Ms Theodora Clarke.

“This will allow the economy not to focus only on paying the debts but also continue investing,” he added.

The ODM party leader said the economy has received a beating from the Covid-19 pandemic and what Kenya currently needs is an economic renaissance to get it back on its feet.

“Reconstruction is going to be a major challenge post-election. The country incurred huge debts which is a challenge that needs to be dealt with going forward,” he said.

The former premier said he will strengthen the relationship with the UK, which is a major trading partner, as there are opportunities to be harnessed in the trade and agricultural sectors between the two countries with Kenya being the gateway to the East African region on matters of trade.

He said he is seeking to have the UK put more investment into agricultural production in Kenya.

“We will create a conducive environment for foreign investors for there to be more foreign direct investment into the economy and see more British companies invest in Kenya by addressing constraining factors,” he said.

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