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Bank accounts to be compulsory for all Kenyans over 18 years

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It will soon be compulsory for all Kenyans above 18 years to operate a bank account, once plans by the Government to introduce laws in the coming budget take effect.Finance minister Njeru Githae said the Kenyan economy has matured, which calls for every Kenyan to have a bank account in line with efforts to increase financial inclusion in the country, as per Vision 2030.“We are changing the law to make it compulsory for every Kenyan to have a bank account as part of our rapid transformation initiative into a middle income economy,” said Mr Githae.Also coming up will be a law compelling every Kenyan above 18 years to open an income tax file with the Kenya Revenue Authority, to help seal loopholes in tax collection. The two will be mandatory irrespective of whether one is earning an income or not.e added that all financial intermediaries will be compelled to issue secure but affordable debit cards, as part of future reforms in the financial sector.The minister was speaking when he officiated the opening of Eco Bank’s Karen branch in Nairobi on Tuesday.Mr Githae said the 2012/2013 finance bill will anchor some of these proposals, adding that the changes will help strengthen the synergy between the central bank, commercial banks and individual customers.He added that the banking industry has grown from 2008, with industry statistics indicating that total assets, deposits and loans standing at Sh2.1 trillion, Sh1.6 trillion and Sh1.2 trillion as at the end of last year.To this end, he urged all banks to consider reducing their spread, saying that with such increased customer deposits, all banks should consider giving double digit returns to their clients and reduce their lending rates.

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