Kenya’s central bank releases $69 million to support fight against coronavirus

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Kenya’s Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge greet each other during the presentation of a dummy cheque at a meeting in State House, Nairobi, on Friday, March 20, 2020. COURTESY: TWITTER/Central Bank of Kenya

Kenya’s central bank on Friday released Sh7.4 billion ($69.8 million) to support the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge made the announcement during a meeting between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and members of the private sector at State House, Nairobi.

The meeting was aimed at discussing measures being taken to cushion the country from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Dr Njoroge, the money was obtained through the mop-up exercise of old Sh1,000 notes which were demonetized at the end of September 2019.

The demonetization exercise was aimed at tackling illicit financial flows within the country and the emerging risk of counterfeits.

President Kenyatta subsequently directed Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani to ensure the money is used to support Kenyans to overcome the current health crisis.

“That money goes to help our health facilities and our health workers. That again is something we appreciate, and this is what I mean when I say Kenyans working together can achieve miracles,” President Kenyatta said.

At the same time, President Kenyatta said that the government had allocated Sh1 billion ($9.4 million) to hire more health workers to boost the sector’s capability to respond to the pandemic.

Kenya currently has seven confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus. On Friday, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe also announced a raft of measures to maintain social distancing between people in a bid to contain the pandemic.