The printing of a new-look currency to meet a constitutional requirement will cost the country Sh18 billion, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said Thursday.
CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge told the Senate that the bank missed the planned August 2015 deadline to roll out the new currency notes as stipulated in the new Constitution following the cancellation of the tender on March 24.
The tender was cancelled after the bidders quoted a zero price. The CBK, in consultation with the Attorney-General, ruled the move illegal.
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, meaning the current notes in circulation violate this rule.
Dr Njoroge added that while the process has been initiated, issuing a new currency in an election year portends risks. The bank sees September 2017 as the preferred time to roll it out.
The Cabinet gave the CBK the go-ahead to develop and begin rolling out the new notes in February last year.
The CBK governor said Sh18 billion would be required to withdraw the currency now in circulation over a three-year period and the exercise would involve a massive awareness campaign.