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Traders decry weakening of Kenya shilling

By Clement Kamau
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
Kenyan Shillings in the black wallet on a wooden background
In summary

A section importers from Kiambu  have made a distress call to the government after their businesses face near collapse over the weakening of the Kenya Shilling against the US Dollar.

The importers who mainly deal with automotive parts and other accessories want to government to move in fast and save the Kenya shillings.

They have also urged CBK to intervene in an attempt to hold the exchange rate at a level favourable to the small scale importers.

They told the People Daily Online in Limuru on Monday that they are counting losses after importing goods only for the shilling to loss value compared to the dollar.

Chege Muthee and Muniu Gachohi who spoke on behalf of the importers claimed there's a cartel of wealthy people that buys dollars in bulk from the Central Bank of Kenya at the expense of the small scale traders.

"They normally buy dollars in bulk and keep them only to seller the same when the shilling falls and we find this unfair to us because we are upcoming traders who need government protection," said Muthee.

There has been an increasing debate regarding the exchange rate and the performance of the Kenya Shilling with discussions on this topic having centred on the recent weakening of the Kenya Shilling suggesting that this is a bad out come of the economy.   

The Central Bank of Kenya has since sought to clarify that foreign exchange ups and downs are obvious the world over and hence the Shillings should not always strengthen.

A competitive exchange rate ensures that the interests of both exporters and importers are balanced.

"In this regard movements in the exchange rates serve to correct any imbalances in the market.The movement of the exchange rate can not therefore be  classified as good or bad if it is adjusting to economic factors", said a statement from CBK.

The CBK said it should dawn to all traders that the exchange rate depends on several factors including trade, production and investment in the economy.

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