NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched new generation coins at the Central Bank of Kenya, Nairobi.
He also received a symbolic cheque of dividends on behalf of the government during the function on Tuesday.
The visit was the first official one to the bank since President Uhuru Kenyatta took power in 2013 and most recent since 1984 when he visited the institution on personal business.
“Last time I entered CBK doors was in 1984 when I came to look for some foreign exchange to go to school and I was told to go upstairs to see some secretary, I don’t know whether those things still exist or you are doing this in a different manner,” he said.
The President noted that the new coins unveiled will have improved features making them more appealing to the visually-impaired persons.
Central Bank of Kenya said it has today (December 11) issued a gazette notice making the new coins now a legal tender
Central Bank noted that the coins portray significant nuances of the country and will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture, and promoting Kenya’s global uniqueness.
Governor Patrick Njoroge said that Central Bank will soon roll out a campaign raising awareness, educating the public on the new coinage.
He said the new coins will circulate alongside the old ones which have not been withdrawn.
“CBK invited the public to provide their views on the elements that they desired on the coins. Having considered all submissions, CBK considered the most appropriate elements including the designs that best meet CBK’s technical requirements, serve the public aspirations and capture the spirit of the constitution,” said Governor Njoroge during the launch.
The Tuesday launch follows a court decision in October to clear the way for new currencies after numerous cases challenging the awarding of the tender to British firm De La Rue.
The new currency tender has been in the corridors of justice three times. The first case was filed by Okiya Omtatah seeking to stop the Government from using current notes in circulation and be forced to print the new ones.
De La Rue also went to court to stop the process stopped after it found out that it was not on the list of pre-qualified companies for the tender.
In the case, the firm accused CBK of discrimination as it allegedly invited bids from international companies but locked out the local industry.
CBK welcomed the October judgement, saying it would proceed “with all due haste” with the processes it had put in place for printing and supply of new generation bank notes.
“This legal challenge was the final hurdle stopping CBK from issuing the new generation bank notes. CBK will now reassess the timeline for the issuance of these banknotes,” said the bank in a press statement.