NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 24 – Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge will brief the Senate on the timeframes of the planned unveiling and rolling out of the new currency.
Temporary Deputy Speaker Wilfred Machage directed that Njoroge addresses an informal sitting of the Upper House next week after members were unsatisfied by a response statement submitted by the Senate Finance Committee which was looking into the matter.
“The matters raised in this House on this issue are so important and so strongly put and worded. I am not pleased with the chair’s performance today on that answer. I order this the Governor of the Central Bank is invited to address the whole House in a Kamukunji in the next one week,” Machage ruled.
Senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Henry Ndiema (Trans-Nzoia) and Elizabeth Ongoro (Nominated) said the delay to beat to the September 2015 deadline as required by the Constitution had triggered speculation that the government may have had a change of mind on the plan.
“First of all we are told that the design is so scientific and so technical that it takes five years to arrive at it. I think there is nothing so technical in designing a currency, and public participation is something we have always done, we can do it within a week. I think we can be given a better answer,” Ndiema said.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow who chairs the committee had told members that they had been assured that process for the launch of the new currency had been set in motion and was nearing completion.
“There’s no doubt that this is a technical and complex matter, because of the national security implications of trying to get all those things into place and I think Senator Ole Ndiema knows he has worked on the ID cards, he knows how long it takes even to rollout the new generation ID cards, in that regard I would seek the indulgence of the House to consult further on the time frames,” he said.
Kenya must replace all currency with new bank notes because the Constitution adopted in 2010 prohibits the use of a person’s portrait on the notes. Notes currently in circulation have the images of First President Jomo Kenyatta and his successor Daniel arap Moi.
Article 231(4) of the Constitution bars the use of portraits or images of individuals on currency, stating that notes and coins should only bear images that depict or symbolise an aspect of Kenya. The notes in circulation currently violate this rule.
The new currency is expected to be in notes of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.
In 2012, the CBK sought a new image for the local currency notes and coins, in adherence to the Constitution.
The regulator had called for proposals on designs whose themes reflect a new chapter in Kenya’s history in line with the law, and to depict the country’s prosperity as outlined in Vision 2030.