CBK Governor: Why New Notes Are Ageing Fast

CBK Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge (right)

Central Bank of Kenya Governor - Dr Patrick Njoroge - has explained why the new Kenyan currency notes are ageing at a fast rate. 

Njoroge admitted that the lower denominations were wearing faster than the older ones due to the high rate of circulation. Appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance and Budget on Tuesday, June 29, Njoroge argued that, nonetheless, the new notes were of superior quality compared to the older ones. 

He further blamed a section of Kenya over cash handling skills - claiming most of the population do not use wallets for safer keeping of cash. 

"The fading occurs owing to how we treat the currency. We are harsh in treating the currency. As a matter of fact, we all know how people are supposed to put them in the kibeti (wallets).

File image of Kenyan bank notes
File image of Kenyan bank notes

"Most of us don't have wallets. We put the money in other places," Njoroge clarified, adding that even those who use the wallet throw the money in it haphazardly. 

The governor added that using the wallet was one of the major factors in designing the new currency, ten years ago. 

He further detailed that there wasn’t any shortage of the notes and the supply to the market was consistent with the demands. 

CBK introduced the new notes to the Kenyan market in September 2019.  President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the new notes in December 2018 noting that they were in accordance with the 2010 constitution.

"I am extremely pleased that today we can achieve another milestone. I am informed that the new generation coins continue the tradition of depicting an aspect that best describes our country," Uhuru announced. 

CBK, however, faced litigation after releasing the new notes. Activist Okiya Omtatah lost a case where he argued that the new notes bore images of individuals (particularly first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta) rather than those that depict or symbolize Kenya. 

Judges Kanyi Kimondo and Arsenath Ongeri ruled that the petition lacked merit. Justice Anthony Mrima wrote a dissenting opinion.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge unveil the new Kenyan currency in December 2018.