Kenyans in diaspora send more money back home in March to a record high of Ksh24 billion

Dollars. [Photo courtesy]

There has been no decline in the cash inflows from Kenyans in the diaspora as earlier projected, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) maintains.

Going by the latest statistical data by CBK, Kenyans abroad sent more money in March than they did in February.

The statistical bulletin indicates that a total of $228.9 million (Ksh24.4 billion) came in from Kenyans abroad compared to $218.9 million Sh23 billion in February.

”There was no decline, so far, in remittances from the largest sources such as the US and UK. However, the inflows from South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Oman declined, reflecting the impact of COVID-19,’’ CBK said.

The increased inflows are, perhaps, driven by the need to ensure families of those in the diaspora are taken care of at this time when the novel coronavirus pandemic has hits Kenya’s economy hard.

CBK data further shows that compared to 12-month inflows to March 2020, there was $2,838 million more sent compared to the same period into March 2019 where $2,722 was sent representing a 4.3 per cent increase.

In 2019, total diaspora remittances stood at Ksh280 billion.

However, with lockdown across Europe due to coronavirus, this figure could go down.

CBK also said that the country’s forex reserve has decreased by over Ksh100 billion since January with a “total of $7858 million (Sh787 billion) equivalent of 4.75 months of import cover as of Friday compared to Sh791.3 billion able to sustain 4.78 months of imports the previous week.”

The decreasing forex reserve is as a result of the weakening of the shilling against the dollar which has pushed import cost high.

”Kenya Shilling eased against major international and regional currencies during the week ending April 23 due to building up in dollar demand. It exchanged at 107.41 per US dollar on April 23 compared to 105.91 on April 16.,’’ CBK said.

A few weeks ago, African Development Bank deputy director-general for East Africa Nnenna Nwabufo told Business Daily in an interview that the remittances will not be coming anytime soon as the economy is on its knees.

“Those remittances are not going to be coming,” she stated.

She added: “Most of the people filing for unemployment are mostly immigrants. While we have immigrants working in medical services but many others are in informal sector where they own restaurants and businesses.”