Kenya to give licences back to 13 Somali money transfer firms - CNBC Africa

Kenya to give licences back to 13 Somali money transfer firms

East Africa

by Reuters 0

President Kenyatta says Somali money transfer firms banned after Garissa attacks are set to receive licences. PHOTOS: horseedmedia

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said Kenya will grant licences to 13 money transfer firms who were banned in the wake of the Garissa university attack in April and whose names are on a list of 85 entities with links to Somalia's al Shabaab.

The killing of 148 students by al Shabaab militants at Garissa, some 200 km (120 miles) from the border, had piled pressure on Kenyatta to deal with the Islamists who have killed more than 400 people in Kenya in the last two years.

(READ MORE: Update: Gunmen storm Kenyan University in Garissa, death toll at 17)

Rights groups say the move has had a devastating impact Kenya's Somali community, numbering just over one million people, as it is heavily reliant on cash from workers abroad.

Kenyatta said in a message to Muslims on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan he had been briefed about proposals to lift the ban as part of investigations into terrorism funding.

"In the light of this, I direct the Central Bank of Kenya to immediately issue comprehensive regulations that guide the operation of MRPs, upon which their suspension would be lifted," he said, referring to so-called Money Remittance Providers.

(READ MORE: Kenyan University students march to demand security in wake of Garissa)

He did not say whether the firms would be taken off the list of al Shabaab-linked entities

The owner of one of the banned remittance firms told Reuters the companies have not been told how long it will be before they can start operating in Kenya again.