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Kenya central bank retains benchmark rate at 7 pct amid COVID-19

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Monday retained its benchmark lending rate at 7.0 percent citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrick Njoroge, CBK governor, who chaired the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Nairobi said the package of policy measures implemented over the past year has protected the economy from substantial decline and supported the most vulnerable citizens.

“The MPC concluded that the current accommodative monetary policy stance remains appropriate, and therefore decided to retain the Central Bank Rate (CBR) at 7.00 percent,” Njoroge said in a statement.

He noted that the committee will closely monitor the impact of the policy measures, as well as developments in the global and domestic economy, and stands ready to take additional measures as necessary.

“Nevertheless, the outlook remains highly uncertain, due to concerns on the pace of rollout of vaccination programs in some countries, the emergence of new variants of the virus, and reintroduction of containment measures in some economies,” Njoroge revealed.

The governor said that at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the government rolled out a number of emergency measures to mitigate the anticipated adverse effects of the pandemic. “One year on, the committee assessed that these measures have been highly effective,” Njoroge added.

The Kenyan government has said it expects economic growth to rebound this year after it slid to an estimated 0.6 percent growth last year.

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