Makeshift Hospital
Photo taken on Aug. 1, 2020 shows the interior of a makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients at the AsiaWorld-Expo, a venue near the Hong Kong International Airport, in south China's Hong Kong. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu)

Kenya should mainstream emergency financial sector regulatory measures implemented in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic into the regulatory framework to prepare the sector for possible future pandemics, heads of three financial regulatory bodies said on Tuesday.

The measures, anchored on the increased use of financial technology include holding virtual annual general meetings, easing requirements for publishing financial statements in the hard copy versions of the newspapers, and ensuring that technology skills are a requisite for all board members, said Wycliffe Shamiah, the acting chief executive of the Capital Market Authority during a webinar.

“COVID-19 pandemic presented us with challenges that have made us temporarily adjust how we regulate the financial sector. But our experience is that some of these measures we have put in place are beneficial in the long term and will be mainstreamed into the main regulations,” said Shamiah.

The officials said they have found the measures, which involve heavy use of information technology, to be efficient and cost-effective in regulatory activities.

They said the measures will also help Kenya accelerate its plan to become a global financial hub under the National Treasury’s Nairobi International Financial Centre initiative.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) announced plans to widen authorization of the online sale of insurance policies which was exclusively done physically before.

Other measures may include payment of policies by installments, the IRA’s chief executive Godfrey Kiptum said.

“We have set up an insurance sandbox, an internal innovation hub, which will among others come up with innovations based on COVID-19 lessons to be integrated into the regulatory system,” he said.

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