Officially, the Central Bank of Kenya claims that the rate of the US dollar to Kenya Shilling is 129.5. The dollar is about to cross the 130 historic low.
But when you visit the bank to get some dollars, send money abroad in foreign currency, or make any type of transaction in foreign currency, your jaw will drop when you realize that the rate commercial banks are selling the dollar has breached the Sh. 145 mark and is speedily heading towards Sh. 150.
The Kenya shilling has been depreciating since 2021. However, the rate of depreciation appears to have grown worse under the new regime.
For instance, in just one and a half month, the shilling has fallen by about Sh. 5 to the US dollar and is losing nearly one shilling to the dollar every week.
A spot check by Bizna Kenya shows that in the month of February alone, the local Shilling fell from Sh. 124 to Sh. 127. The shilling has been falling since March 2020 when it traded at Sh. 104 against the US dollar.
Reports indicate that commercial banks are selling US dollars at between Sh. 140.55 and Sh. 144.50 while buying the greenback at between Sh. 128.20 and Sh. 131.40.
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On the other hand, customers are buying dollars at between Sh. 141 and Sh. 146 per unit in forex bureaus. These are buying dollars at between Sh. 135 and Sh. 138.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has already claimed that the ongoing US dollar shortage and the falling shilling are beyond the government’s control.
“Because of the way the FED is playing with the interest rates, the dollar is becoming very expensive. So in so many ways, this is not just a Kenyan problem. It is a global problem but Africa has been hit the most… That one I can admit is out of our control,” said Kuria when he appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
In the first admission of helplessness over the crisis by a government official, the controversial cabinet secretary said that Kenyans must stop crying over the crisis because they import everything leaving no room for the stabilization of the shilling.
“You cannot be crying that the dollar is expensive when you are importing everything,” he added.