Profile of Prof. Ndungu, Kenya’s new Treasury CS
President William Ruto appointed his cabinet Tuesday which will help him deliver on Hustler narrative he pledged during campaign trail for the next five years.
Among top key figures in the cabinet is the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Professor Njuguna Ndungu.
Professor Ndungu is the former Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor who served at the regulator for a period of eight years from 2007.
After the exit from the bank, he was appointed executive director of the African Economic Research Consortium in 2018.
Ndung’u was born in central Kenya in 1960. He studied economics at the University of Nairobi, earning both a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Arts in Economics from the university.
His Doctor of Philosophy, also in economics, was obtained from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Before his appointment as CBK Governor, Ndung’u was the director of training at the African Economic Research Consortium.
Ndung’u has had extensive research and teaching work in various fields of economics, including macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics, and poverty reduction.
He won praise for presiding over the expansion of the financial sector but was criticised for prioritising growth over price stability in 2011.
He served on the advisory board of the annual Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), co-chaired by Thomas Piketty and Tharman Shanmugaratnam IN 2019 four years after exiting CBK,
In 2012, in final reign of former President Mwai Kibaki, the Parliament tried remove him from office when the Kenyan currency tanked to its weakest on the back of excruciating inflation – 15.61 percent.
A Reuters poll ranked him as the worst performing African policymaker for prioritising growth over price stability in 2011 when the Kenya Shilling plunged to its weakest level ever while inflation soared.
He, however, restored his image in 2013 after slamming brakes on inflation when he raised interest rate to 18 percent.
At the time, the year-on-year inflation rate fell to 13.06 percent in April of 2013 from 15.61 percent in March same year, underlying food and fuel price pressures that had increased.
The professor has an uphill task to revive the country’s economy that has suffered COVID-19 shocks since 2020.
Among the challenges he faces is cutting hefty allowances among thousands of public servants that have caused a ballooned Wage Bill currently at its record 5.5 percent – Ksh.520 billion as of June this from Ksh.493 billion in 2021.
Wage bill in 2013 stood at Ksh.274 billion when former President Uhuru Kenyatta took office and when Professor Ndungu was the CBK boss.