Traders in southern Nyanza can now breathe a sigh of relief following the establishment of Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) currency centre in Kisii.
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday officially opened the centre, which is expected to serve parts of Nyanza and Rift Valley regions, following appeals from the area leadership.
Uhuru said the currency centre will cut costs incurred by financial institutions in collecting cash from CBK's Kisumu branch.
The president, who was received at the facility by CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge and Chairman Mohammed Nyaoga, said the facility will also enable government institutions and counties in the region to carry out financial transactions with ease.
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“We have a lot of money circulating in this region which necessitated the CBK to open a currency centre in Kisii town. We are working closely with the Kenya Bankers Association to bring services closer to citizens in various parts of the country,” said the Head of State.
The president said over 20 commercial bank branches and dozens of micro-finance institutions, as well as Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (Saccos), have operations in Kisii town, an indicator of high circulation of money in the region.
The centre will serve seven counties in the region - Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Bomet, Homa Bay, and parts of Narok and Kericho - with a population of over seven million people. They contribute about 12 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It will also offer a wide range of services, including currency services to the public and bank branches in the region, opportunities for investment in government securities (Treasury bills and bonds) as well as general banking services to counties.
President Kenyatta said CBK has centres in major towns, easing citizens’ access to financial services.
“I would like to thank Absa Bank for having accepted to accommodate the Central Bank currency centre in its premises. We look forward to such collaborations to ensure we have improved services in the financial sector countrywide,” said Uhuru.
The CBK Governor said the currency centre will best serve county governments in the region, noting that the project was of collaboration with other banks.
He said they will be putting up more facilities in other parts of the country and thanked Absa Bank for its support.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae lauded CBK's move, noting that the region controls 60 per cent of the money in circulation in Nyanza region.
“My administration will give the Central Bank necessary support to ensure that the currency centre achieves its set objectives,” said Ongwae.