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Treasury's public debt boss bows out after 38-year career

Haron Sirima has also served as CBK deputy governor in the course of his career

Outgoing Public Debt Management Director General Haron Sirima

Dr. Haron Sirima, the Director General of the Public Debt Management Office at the National Treasury, is leaving his position.

Dr. Sirima's career spans over three decades in Kenya's financial sector, starting as a graduate trainee at the Central Bank of Kenya in 1986 and rising to the role of Deputy Governor.

He's also served as Deputy Director Management Department at the Ministry of Finance and as an Adjunct Professor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Dr. Sirima's contributions to Kenya's public finance management have been significant, particularly in the design and implementation of public debt management reforms.

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His academic qualifications, including a B.A and B.Phil in Economics from the University of Nairobi and a Master's degree and PhD from the University of Manchester and Kenyatta University respectively, underscore his expertise in the field.

His departure comes at a critical time for Kenya, as the country faces a looming debt crisis.

The situation is exacerbated by the maturation of Kenya’s first Eurobond in June 2024, a significant financial hurdle for the nation. With the inability to issue a new Eurobond to settle old debts, Kenya risks a severe liquidity and debt crisis.

The Kenya shilling depreciation against the US Dollar adds to the burden, with $1 currently being exchanged for Sh162 as on January 2024.

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This weakening currency has increased the costs of debt servicing, putting additional pressure on the economy.

Kenya's public debt increased dramatically during former President Uhuru Kenyatta's tenure, more than quadrupling from Sh1.79 trillion at the start of his presidency to Sh8.7 trillion by August 2022.

This spike in debt has raised concerns about Kenya's fiscal sustainability and its ability to manage external shocks effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have further strained the economy, impacting sectors like manufacturing and construction while fueling high input and output prices.

The exit of Dr. Sirima is a significant moment for Kenya, highlighting the challenges facing the nation in managing its public debt.

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As the country gears up to tackle these financial challenges, the expertise and leadership of the Public Debt Management Office will be crucial.

The new director will have to navigate a complex landscape of high debt, economic instability, and global uncertainties, aiming to steer Kenya towards a more sustainable financial future.

The Public Service Commission has already began the recruitment process

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