The Kenyan Forex Crisis has been causing disruptions in the country’s financial institutions. The Central Bank of Kenya has recently taken the drastic step of ordering these institutions to ration dollars in order to limit the crisis. As a result, firms are now finding it harder to access the foreign exchange they need to purchase goods and services abroad. While this move is intended to help alleviate the situation, it could spell disaster for many Kenyan firms struggling to survive in the market. In this article, we’ll explore how CBK’s tighter rules are impacting Kenyan firms as well as the growing shortages of foreign exchange on the interbank market.
Kenyan Firms Strained by Forex Crisis
The Kenyan forex crisis has had a dramatic impact on the operations of local firms. Early in 2022, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) instructed financial institutions to impose caps on the amount of foreign exchange that businesses and individuals could purchase, with caps as low as $5,000 per day. This has made it difficult for some companies to access enough hard currency to transact in foreign currencies.
Kenya’s foreign exchange shortages have begun in mid-2022 and appear to be worsening. In response, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua allegedly said that the country lacked foreign exchange to import oil. However, the CBK denied this claim and said that the currency was sourced through commercial banks.
An unnamed executive with a local manufacturing company highlighted the severity of the situation, telling reporters that only half of the banks had something for them. Even for businesses able to secure as much as $50,000, these amounts are still far below what is needed. This has significantly curtailed the operations of Kenyan firms and put export businesses at risk due to their inability to pay for imports or make payments on time.
As a result, many firms have resorted to relying on other means like taking out loans or selling products before they have been paid. This has created an unsustainable cycle where companies are struggling to pay back debt while trying to keep their operations afloat.
However, while financial institutions have implemented these restrictions, there is hope that progress can be made in resolving Kenya’s forex crisis. The government is currently looking at ways to boost its foreign exchange reserves and there have been reports of plans to issue special bonds as part of an effort to raise funds from private investors. In addition, Kenyan businesses are working together to come up with innovative solutions such as barter trades and using bitcoin as an alternative form of payment.
Therefore, while it may take some time for Kenya’s forex crisis to be resolved, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, businesses must remain diligent in managing their finances by monitoring their foreign exchange purchases and ensuring that their operations comply with CBK’s regulations.
How CBK’s Tighter Rules Have Affected Kenya’s Forex Crisis and Kenyan Firms
The Kenyan forex crisis has had a significant effect on the operations of Kenyan firms due to the new restrictions imposed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). According to reports, Kenyan firms are now sourcing dollars from forex-rich firms such as those in the hospitality and aviation industry, using a higher rate of 137 shillings for every dollar. This rate is significantly higher than the prevailing rate of 119 shillings per dollar that is typically used in interbank transactions.
Tougher rules targeting illegal forex dealers introduced by the CBK have reportedly crippled the operations of the foreign exchange interbank market. This has resulted in a decline in Kenya’s foreign exchange reserves, which have fallen below the statutory requirement of four months of import cover. The CBK Governor, Patrick Njoroge, however, has asserted that Kenya still has adequate reserves despite this figure.
The declining foreign exchange reserves in Kenya have been linked to CBK’s tougher rules. Many commentators have attributed this shortage of dollars directly to these stringent measures taken by the central bank. The situation is especially pronounced for small and medium businesses which are less able to capitalize on other sources of revenue due to their limited access to financing.
It remains unclear how long the current restrictions will remain in place and whether they will be lifted in the near future. In order to stay up to date with any emerging developments as regards Kenya’s foreign exchange crisis, register your email address today to get a weekly update on African news – it’s totally free!
The Kenyan Forex Crisis has put a strain on Kenyan firms who are struggling to keep up with the demands of the Central Bank’s tighter regulations. While the CBK’s efforts will help stabilize the economy, there is still more that needs to be done to help these firms who are dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. It is our responsibility to ensure that the Kenyan Forex Crisis is managed effectively, so that our economy can remain strong and Kenyan firms can continue to thrive.