The central bank of Kenya has responded to comments made by the vice president that Kenya lacks sufficient foreign currency to pay for oil imports.
In an interview with local TV station Citizen on Sunday night, Rigathi Gachagua made the comments while lamenting the dire financial predicament the nation was in.
“Even yesterday, we had a crisis because at the central bank, we found there isn’t enough foreign currency to pay for oil imports,” he said in Swahili.
But in a statement, the central bank said oil importers “obtain their requisite foreign exchange from the commercial banks and not from the CBK”.
It said its foreign exchange cover “remains adequate”, adding that “the CBK does not supply foreign exchange for transactions other than for the national government’s own imports or debt service payments or CBK operations”.
Online, some Kenyans voiced worry that Mr. Gachagua’s comments would have sparked panic on the foreign exchange market.
Some also remarked on the central bank’s response timeliness, which was just after midnight when it was released on Twitter.
“[Mr Gachagua’s] utterances has forced the forex regulator/ the CBK to make a clarification statement in the middle of the night,” a Twitter user noted.
“CBK governor vs [Rigathi Gachagua] Who is telling the truth?” another user posed.
Oil marketers had recently complained about delays in receiving pay for the previous administration’s oil subsidy program, which has since been largely eliminated by the current administration that was elected on August 9th.