Hard Times: Rwanda Bankers’ Association advises banks to close branches

On 25 March 2020 at 06:45

Rwanda Bankers’ Association (RBA) has advised all banks in Rwanda to close some branches especially those located in Kigali in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In an announcement published on March 24th, 2020 via Twitter, RBA explained that the decision was taken to support the government of Rwanda measures to restrict movement in the country as a preventive solution against COVID-19.

Since the first patient was identified in Rwanda on March 14th, 2020, the number of infected patients continues to grow and has reached 40 as of March 24th.

The announcement which was signed by Robin Bairstow, RBA Chairman states that " RBA has advised the banks to temporarily close some of its branches in the country but more specifically the ones located in Kigali in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. RBA continues to monitor closely the situation and will inform its members, staff, customers, and stakeholders on COVID-19 updates."

RBA stated that banks will inform their customers on further steps through usual communication channels.

The government of Rwanda has taken many preventive measures since patient zero was identified including closing all public and private schools as well as higher education institutions and prohibiting public gatherings.

The ministry of health advises Rwandans to keep observing preventive measures to counter further the spread of the virus and to call the toll-free number 114 to report any symptoms.

COVID-19 spreads through direct contact with the infected person, sneezing and coughing. To prevent the spread of the virus, regular hand washing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers or clean water and soap is advised, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding large gatherings. In addition, it is important to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The ministry of health advised for heightened vigilance and cooperation from Rwandans and abiding by certain regulations to stop the spread of coronavirus. All non-essential businesses are closed, travel between cities and districts is prohibited as well as non-essential movements from home.

In addition, Rwandans are recommended to practice social distancing and quarantine for 14 days renewable.

On March 18th, 2020, the Central Bank of Rwanda (BNR) eased loan repayment conditions for borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak and waived transaction fees for mobile money.

BNR also stated that "For the next six months, BNR offers to buy back bonds at the prevailing market rate and the waiting period if one fails to sell the bond on the secondary market will be reduced from 30 to 15 days."

RBA has advised all banks in Rwanda to close some branches especially those located in Kigali in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.