Kenya Is Selling Residency Permits, Citizenship To Raise Revenue
In a bid to raise revenue and reduce its debt burden, Kenya government has put on sale its citizenship, passports, permanent residency, and special visa programs as products to foreign nationals to complement normal tax base of the country.
Revenue generated through this means would be channeled to finance specific developmental issues like research, job creation, or housing shortages.
A report in the country’s leading newspaper, Daily Nation revealed that the government is simply treating the measure as a commodity of trade to raise income to fund the bloating debt crisis.
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).
Kenya’s population stands at 47.5 million and with every child born today owing the lenders $1,300.
This is in addition to the current annual borrowing of nearly $2 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.
Initially, the offer of citizenship and residency to foreigners who could afford it has been limited to an initial 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 Sh200, 000 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.
Potential foreign clients are already having residence permits in the country and have invested heavily in the economy, especially in real estate, manufacturing, education and hospitality. They will not mind paying a few more dollars to get Kenyan citizenship and passports to secure their status, properties and confidently create more wealth and jobs in the country.
Countries across the globe, from the US, to the small island nations of the Caribbean like St. Kitts and Navis, have adopted similar packages to prop up their economies; among them; the US (EB-5 visa programme), Spain (Golden visa programme), Canada (The Federal Immigrant Investor Program), Thailand (“Elite” visa residency).
For detractors or hardcore nationalists, comfort yourself and accept the fact that old doctrines of sovereignty and national honour are on the death bed because states have surrendered some of their authority and power to a web of international laws and bend towards their economic interests and welfare of the people. These trapping laws include charters, treaties, conventions, tribunals and the influence of multinational Corporations notwithstanding.
For example, the current East Africa Community (EAC) citizens can now seek permanent residency permits in any of the larger member states as stipulated in the EAC Charter and protocols. In few years, Kenyans will transit their citizenship to a new superstructure state of East African Federation, whose passport some are already holding.