- The fear is that in few years, the national debt burden will reach unsustainable level and risks of economic decline.
- Governments today are raising revenues through sale of citizenship, passports, permanent residency and special visa programmes to foreign nationals.
- Countries across the globe, from the US, to the small island nations of the Caribbean have adopted similar packages to prop up their economies.
Kenya’s population stands at 47.5 million with every child born today owing the lenders $1,300 (Sh130,000).
The country’s domestic and foreign debt is now at dreadful Sh50 trillion ($50 billion), 15 percent beyond the recommendations set for developing countries by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This is in addition to the current annual borrowing of nearly $2 billion (Sh200 billion) to retire matured loans, finance infrastructure and address other budgetary expenditures.
The fear is that in few years of excessive borrowing and increasing debt ceilings without growing the economy or creating new innovative tax base, the national debt burden will reach unsustainable level and risks of economic decline.
Governments today have added a new arsenal for raising revenues through sale of citizenship, passports, permanent residency and special visa programmes as products to foreign nationals to complement normal tax base of the country. They are tailored to finance specific developmental issues like, research, job creation, or housing shortages.
Simply put, these items are being treated as a commodity of trade to raise income to fund the bloating debt crisis. Initially, the exercise can be limited to five years to assess its value on the intended purpose. Kenya is not the first country to adopt this taxation scheme to raise revenue to repay or considerably reduce its suffocating national debt to the affluent of the world.
The rich people who require this kind of services pay more than $200,000 (Sh20 million) for a passport, basically to travel around the world, or thrice the amount for citizenship. They may not live in the country but just want to enjoy having dual citizenship for a rainy day and to access certain privileges offered to Kenyans.
The country will not sink because it added one more million extra resourceful immigrants to its population now facing a birth rate decline. Wealthy Africans, Indians, Chinese, Arabs and Europeans are sure clients and immediate customers Kenya can tap on to sell these products.