COVID-19: Kenya to quarantine currency notes and coins

CBK Governor patrick njoroge

Central Bank of Kenya will quarantine new cash for a period one week before releasing it into the market to limit the spread of Covid-19 through currency.

Speaking while briefing President Uhuru Kenyatta on banking sector strategy to deal with the economic impact of the virus, CBK governor Patrick Njoroge appealed to the public to take advantage of zero-rated mobile money transactions to cut on use of hard currency.

The banking sector committed to easing lending, especially for personal loans to ensure households effortlessly meet their basic necessities.

”All commercial bank personal loans that were there on March 2, are eligible for an extension for up to one year. SME and corporate borrowers can approach their banks to be assessed for loan restructuring. The cost will be borne by banks,” Njoroge said.

”We know many borrowers are undergoing tough financial times. Some have lost jobs, revenue from businesses shrinking and delayed payments. Banks are ready to listen and extend payment periods for them”.

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He said the banking sector had also been advised to waive all charges on balance inquiry through mobile.

He said due to uncertainty that the virus might have to the economy, the banks might consider moratoriums to borrowers depending on how the situation will be assessed.

“We have also asked our banks to waive all charges on balance inquiry and they should not charge on any mobile money transfers,” Njoroge said.

Lenders are also willing to restructure loans for Small and Medium Businesses Enterprises (SMEs).