Money transfer firms ‘suffering’ despite suspension lift

February 19, 2016
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“Firms are now doing only a third of the business they used to do before the suspension, they are barely even breaking even,” Wachira said/FILE
“Firms are now doing only a third of the business they used to do before the suspension, they are barely even breaking even,” Wachira said/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Kenya money transfer companies are experiencing slow business more than seven months after their suspension was lifted.

Kenya Forex and Remittance Association Chairman Anthony Wachira says despite their suspension being lifted, customers still treating them with suspicion of engaging in terror activities.

“Firms are now doing only a third of the business they used to do before the suspension, they are barely even breaking even,” Wachira said.

The government suspended the licenses of remittance firms in the wake of an attack that killed 148 people at Garissa University College.

They were suspected of being sympathisers of the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Those affected included market leader Dahabshiil, which is used by 95 percent of international agencies and charities in Somalia, as well as smaller players like Kendy, UAE Exchange, Amal, Iftin, Kaah Express and Amana.

Others include Juba Express, Tawakal, Bakaal, Hodan, Continental and Flex.

However President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the suspension of licenses for Money Remittance Providers be lifted upon compliance with Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) regulations.

The Head of State pointed out that his decision came following a briefing in the on-going investigations on the financing of terrorism.

President Kenyatta directed the CBK to immediately issue comprehensive regulations to guide the operation of the Hawalas.

“We are now urging the regulator to send a statement indicating that our businesses are in compliance with the regulations and is not engaging in any terrorism activities, so as we can win our customers back,” Wachira said.

He was speaking during the launch of a new international money transfer service in Kenya dubbed Global Money Transfer Limited.

The new firm has exclusive agreement with international money transfer switch Taaj service where customers will be able to send and receive money from more than 200 locations around the world.

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