Kenya’s President Ruto called out for encouraging austerity

President William Ruto during a State Banquet in honour of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla at State House, Nairobi.PPS Kenya’s President William Ruto has faced...

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President William Ruto during a State Banquet in honour of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla at State House, Nairobi.PPS

Kenya’s President William Ruto has faced some criticism following his first State of the Nation address on Thursday, in which he called for austerity measures.

“The time has come to retire the false comforts and illusory benefits of wasteful expenditure, and counterproductive subsidies on consumption by which we dug ourselves deeper into the hole of avoidable debt,” Mr Ruto said.

Critics say the president failed to adequately address how he was going to address the mounting concerns about the worsening cost of living.

Some also called him out for promising to cut “wasteful expenditure” yet spending millions on foreign travel, with his latest trip to Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Kenyans have faced growing taxes and levies since President Ruto came to power last year, which have contributed to an increase in the prices of basic commodities like food and fuel.

Mr Ruto said that “the new direction may not be easy, but it is ethical, responsible, prudent and, most importantly, necessary”.

He said that his measures have made it possible for Kenya to move ahead with paying $300m (£245m) of its Eurobond debt next month, months before the total $2bn debt is due.

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