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Kenyans abroad advocate for new regulations to increase remittances

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By Judith Gicobi

Representatives of Kenyans who reside overseas have called for new, tightly restricted regulations, that would permit them to make aggressive investments in government assets.

They worry that rising price pressures on a worldwide scale will reduce their disposable income and their capacity to send money home.

The proposed diaspora department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been urged by Cliff Mobeck of the Diaspora Youth Caucus to provide appropriate procedures for engaging the constituency.

This may encourage more Kenyans living abroad to invest their money in long-term assets like treasury bonds in an effort to increase their earnings.

“Even as they contribute meaningfully in terms of remittances, the government can take a proactive approach to address their social, economic and political welfare. The government also needs to find a way of encouraging Kenyans to diversify investments beyond the black tax,” Mobeck stated.

According to statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), diaspora remittances from the US decreased by an average of 3% per month this year, indicating the US’s high cost of living, which has reduced Kenyans’ discretionary income available for supporting their family members back home.

According to the CBK’s analysis of remittances by source country, inflows from the country dropped to Sh21.9 billion in August from Sh26.5 billion in December of last year. This decline in inflows was attributed to the rise in US inflation, which is currently at 8.26%.

The potential of additional reduction in diaspora remittances after transfers from the United States fell for the first time this year owing to inflation brought on by the crisis in Ukraine increases if such tactics are not developed swiftly.

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Kenyan representative for Diaspora Youth Focus, Silas Nyanchwani urges that, “Kenyans in Europe and United States can easily make Shs.1 million and most of them are limited to only buying land and building houses, mostly residential. Buying land through real estate/land-buying firms, and letting it sit there is locking money,”

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