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Kenya to Receive Sh34.5bn in IMF Loan to Fight COVID-19

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30-Kenya hopes to receive Sh34.5 billion, from the International Monetary Fund next week to weather the economic conditions caused by the pandemic, as the country enters the harsh 3rd wave of COVID-19.

This will be the first consequential disbursement from the Sh263billion of the three-and-a-half-year Extended Fund Facility arrangement and Extended Credit Facility.

The Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge during the post-Monetary Policy Committee briefing said the government expects the IMF board will approve the disbursement on Friday.

“We expect that that program will be discussed at the IMF board on Friday, April 2nd and early next week sometime there will be a consequential disbursement of about $314million over the next few days after that,” said Njoroge.

According to Njoroge, the key element of the program is to anchor fiscal consolidation through revenue-driven policies thereby reducing the debt vulnerabilities over the medium term.

“The program is intended to support our COVID-19 response and actually it will provide direct budget support and other policies that will help in anchoring debt vulnerabilities and reduce them,” Njoroge added.

IMF Mission Chief for Kenya Mary Goodman had earlier said, “the program aims to support government’s COVID-19 response.”

The government had sought the IMF loan in December 2020, which the country applied to help respond to the economic shocks occasioned by the pandemic.

Disbursements from the program are likely to be made in three parts across the 2020/21 financial year ending in June to the 2022/23 fiscal year.

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Currently, Kenya revised its curfew hours from 10pm to 8pm till 4am, shutting movement in and out of five counties, closing schools, and banning all public gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The directives have so far affected businesses such as the hotel industry, the aviation sector where businesses have been crippled over the next few days.

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