US Embassy accepts new Kenya banknotes after CBK intervention

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge (PHOTO: FILE)
NAIROBI, KENYA: US Embassy in Nairobi is now accepting both the old and new currency notes, a retreat from Tuesday’s announcement asking Kenyans planning to make any consulate payment to use only the old currency.

In a tweet Tuesday, the Embassy said it was working on procedures to accept the new Kenyan shillings.

“Until these procedures are in place, consular applicants will only be able to pay for services using the previous Kenyan shillings. You may also continue to pay by credit card," read the tweet.

However, in a subsequent tweet Tuesday evening, the Embassy announced the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) had provided it with equipment upgrades and training necessary to accept the new currency.

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“After coordination with the Central Bank of Kenya, we have been provided with equipment upgrades and training necessary to accept the new Kenyan currency. We now accept the new currency as well as the legacy currency valid until Oct 1. You may also continue to pay for services by credit card,” the Consulate said in a tweet.

During the launch of the new currency notes last month, Dr. Patrick Njoroge said that the Sh50, Sh100, Sh200, and Sh500 notes will be phased out slowly but the Sh1,000 note will be phased by October.

“All the Sh1000 notes were withdrawn by a gazette notice on Friday. Those in possession have until October 31, 2019, to release them,” said Njoroge.

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According to the CBK Governor, the immediate phase-out of the Sh1000 note was to help the Government in dealing with cases of counterfeits, which has impacted the economy negatively.

In an earlier circular CBK said it will not accept old bank notes by October 1. Some members of parliament are on record having dared Dr. Njoroge to push the date forward to August.

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Speaking on June 4 Minority Leader of the National Assembly and Suba South MP John Mbadi said the ODM supports the introduction of the new currency notes although there are legal requirements that the Government ought to consider.

Mbadi said that contrary to earlier reports which revealed that the party called for a recall of new notes, it is instead supporting its introduction and wants the deadline to be moved to August.

He said that the notes printed bearing the statue of country’s first President Jomo Kenyatta should be allowed to be circulated and be replaced gradually with other printed notes with no such features because notes ‘wear out with time.’

Mr. Mbadi echoed his colleagues in Deputy President William Ruto’s camp who called on Central Bank to push forward the deadline for new banknotes.

Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa led legislatures in DP Ruto’s camp calling for the revision of the Sh1000 new notes to July 1. He said the revision would allow money to be released to the economy faster for the nation’s development.

Responding to the leaders who wanted the order to be implemented immediately, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said the bank acted with a lot of consideration on the impact an immediate ban would have on the majority of Kenyans, especially those living in remote parts of the country.

On June 3, the bank further advised people with less than Sh5 million in the old notes to exchange at their banks and those with more than Sh5 million to do so at the Central Bank.

“We had to benchmark with countries such as India who also withdrew some banknotes from the economy, theirs was an immediate withdrawal which also had its shortfalls,” said Governor Njoroge.

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