KIGALI – The National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) has availed a facility of Frw 50 billion (about Shs197 billion) that commercial banks with liquidity challenges can borrow to stay afloat in the face of coronavirus.
NBR Governor John Rwangombwa said the facility is available for the next six months and shall be disbursed at the discretion of the Central Bank.
“Reviewed the existing Treasury Bonds rediscounting window: For the next six months. the NBR offers to buy back bonds at the Prevailing market rate and the waiting period it one fails to sell the bond at the secondary market will be reduced from the current 30 clays to 15 days,” Rwangombwa said in a statement issued on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
“Effective April 1, 2020. NBR will lower the reserve requirement ratio by 100 bps from 5% to 6 in order to allow banks more liquidity to further support affected businesses,” he added.
Mr Rwangombwa said the central bank is encouraging the use of digital channels such as contactless mobile payments an effort to limit the risk of transmission of the virus through handling of cash and other non-virtual means for payment.
As a result, he said for the next 3 months, Mobile Network Operators and Banks will not put charges on all transfers between bank accounts and mobile wallets (Pull and Push seroces), there will be zero charges all mobile money transfers and zero merchant fees on payments for all contactless Point of Sale (mobile and virtuai POS) transactions:
“The limit for individual transfers using mobile money wallets has been increased from FRW 500.000 to FRW 1,500,000 for Tier I customers and from FRW 1.000,000 to FRW 4.000.000 for Tier ll customers. The National Bank of Rwanda encourages all citizens to take advantage of the removal of all charges on electronic money transactions and use digital payment means for all their transactions,” Mr Rwangombwa said.
“The National Bank of Rwanda will continue monitoring the implementation of these measures as well as the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic and stands ready to take any additional appropriate measures,” he added.