KHat Merchants Hit By Closure of Somali-Owned Cash Bureaus

Miraa (Khat) traders have been caught flat footed with the closure of Somali remittance service firms, saying they will face difficulties to get their money from khat dealers in Somalia.
Somalia is the biggest foreign market currently for locally grown miraa after the closure of European markets following a ban by UK and Netherlands 2013 and 2012 respectively.
“Dahabshill is the main one that we use. It is the lifeline,|” said spokesperson for exporting agency, Sakijo International, Kimathi Munjuri.
Miraa exports to Somalia are mostly via air with four daily flights transporting six tonnes each per trip.
Kenya government yesterday announced the closure of 13 Somali-owned money remittance firms after Thursday’s terror attack on students, in a bid to cut suspected terror funds from flowing through these companies.
Those affected include Dahabshill Money Transfer Limited, UAE Exchange, Hodan Global and Tawakal Money Transfer among others.
“I think the only other option we have is for the government to allow us to transport the money manually via the planes that take the miraa to Somalia,” Munjuri added.
However sources who requested anonymity said the closure is pointless as a lot of money can be transferred manually by road as has been the case when miraa is transported via road to Somalia.
The source claimed that the move by government to ban these money transfer firms will worsen the situation and lead to growth of the informal cash transfer methods.
Source: The Star

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