No office for man picked to manage national debt

Former Central Bank of Kenya deputy governor Haron. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]
Former Central Bank Deputy Governor Haron Sirima is yet to take over office at Treasury in his new role as the man to tame the country’s skyrocketing public debt.

A source indicated that top Treasury officials are uncomfortable with Dr Sirima, who was successfully recruited by the Public Service Commission through a competitive exercise as the new director general, public debt management.

Sirima was appointed on June 5, but to date Jackson Njau Kinyanjui, who is the director of the resource mobilisation department, is listed as acting DG, public debt management.

“He is now operating from his private office on Mama Ngina Street as he awaits Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Permanent Secretary Kamau Thugge to usher him into the new role,” the source said.

Yesterday, Mr Rotich and Dr Thugge did not pick our calls or respond to text messages on the matter.

Sirima is expected to head the department responsible for managing the level and composition of national and county debt, national and county governments’ contingent guarantees, and other financial obligations of the national government.

The department is also expected to develop a framework for sustainable debt levels.

According to Central Bank of Kenya, as at last March, the country’s national debt stood at Sh4.9 trillion, with indications the debt has risen to Sh5.03 trillion in the last four months.

In July, Treasury advertised 20 vacancies for staffers who would be working under Sirima.

The officers sought include one assistant director, two principal debt management officers, three debt management officers, four assistant directors of resource mobilisation, five principal resource mobilisation officers and five other chief resource mobilisation officers.

Lack of debt management leadership at Treasury has been cited as one of the reasons the country has been on a borrowing spree.

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Haron SirimaTreasuryPublic Debt