, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The Ministry of Finance is urging the business community to return to their regular work schedules in order to help the country recoup what it lost during the election period.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae assured the business community that the country is safe and secure following an election process that featured peaceful campaigns from all stakeholders involved to make sure that a repeat of the 2008 chaos didn’t occur.
He noted that taxes were lost due to the elections and vote count that took a week to finish, but confirmed that he’d urge the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to work double hard in order to recoup the losses.
“We still have 19 days left in the month and I will soon have a meeting with KRA to urge them to redouble their efforts so they can recoup whatever they may have lost during last week,” he said.
“We’re also telling traders and investors to please proceed now and recoup whatever losses they may have incurred during election week. As the railways would say, it’s now full steam ahead for the economy. We are doing nothing else but the economy and politics is behind us as far as we’re concerned,” he explained.
He assured investors that the intended petition by presidential loser Raila Odinga will have little to no effect on how business runs in the country.
“They have no reason to be jittery at all and in any case; if they don’t clear (goods) they will incur demurrage, which would make it expensive for them. So please go clear your cargo at the Kenya Ports Authority,” he said.
“Court cases will always be there and this is just but one of them, but you can’t wait to continue with business because there’s a court case pending,” he emphasised.
Githae explained that the recently concluded election process will send a very strong signal to the international community that political stability is firmly in place in Kenya and they should therefore help the country in restoring confidence that was very badly dented in 2008.
“The economic outlook is good as business in the country has gone back to normal. We expect to see increased capital inflows, foreign direct investments and improved performance in the tourism sector,” he said.
Githae revealed that they intend to issue a sovereign bond during the second half of the year because of the restored confidence in Kenya’s economy and institutions.
He added that they expect to get a favourable rating; reducing the price of the bond significantly compared to if they had done it before the elections.
“In the second half of 2013, Treasury will issue a $1 billion (Sh86.1 billion) debut sovereign bond as they raise funds to be channelled towards infrastructure to create jobs and make the economy more competitive,” he said.
Last year, the government borrowed $600 million (Sh51.6 billion) in a debut two-year syndicate loan from foreign creditors at an interest rate of 4.75 percent above Libor that went towards ongoing infrastructure projects.
The arrangement of the loan was done by a consortium of foreign banks including Citibank London, Standard Chartered Bank and South Africa’s Standard Bank, who also fully underwrote the loan facility.