Kenya’s private sector seeks CBK audience over dollar shortage
Players from Kenya’s private sector are seeking an audience with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) as more sectors run up to dollar shortage.
The stakeholders staged a virtual meeting on Wednesday which served to uncover the extent of the dollar shortage in the market.
Beyond manufacturers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) such as cooking oil, players in the automotive industry and travel have also highlighted challenges in accessing dollars from their banks.
The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) have for instance reported experiencing dollar shortage to meet payments for air tickets and travel packages which are mostly denominated in foreign currency.
At the same time, the prevailing dollar shortage has now reportedly caused hiccups in the availability of other foreign currencies such as Euros and the Japanese Yen whose availability is closely linked to that of the green buck.
Wednesday’s meeting was convened by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) which is seeking to guide discussions between its members and the reserve bank on the prevailing dollar shortage.
“The meeting focus will be to get updates on the monetary policy and deliberate on the demand and supply situation around the US dollar,” KEPSA noted in part of the meeting’s invite, which brought together players from the wider private sector including bankers, analysts and industrialists.
The push to address the prevailing dollar shortage is despite the rubbishing of dollar shortage claims by the CBK last week which argued there remains an adequate supply of dollars in the market.
On Tuesday, National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia said the dollar shortage crisis was likely a factor of hoarding of hard currency by importers on perceived shortages of USD in the market.
Speakers in virtual meeting including Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chairperson Mucai Kunyiha argued the prevailing crisis is more of a dollar pricing issue by banks rather than an acute shortage of dollars at the marketplace.
CBK’s meeting with the private sector stakeholders is tentatively set for Friday this week.
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