The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has directed bankers to cap the issuance of new coins to Sh100 per customer amid a hitch over public awareness.
In a circular to chief executives of commercial banks and microfinance banks, the regulator says that more public awareness on the new coins launched on December 11 last year is required.
Consumer Federation of Kenya is already in court seeking to stop the CBK from printing further the new-look currency, arguing there should have been public participation on the images as required by Article 10 of the Constitution.
“Since CBK is in the process of undertaking a public awareness campaign, the distribution is being limited to Sh50 and a maximum of Sh100 of the new coins equivalent per customer,” said Paul Wanyagi, the CBK acting director for currency operations.
The December 14 directive has seen the old coins bearing the portrait of the first three Presidents continue to dominate transactions given that CBK said the old coins will remain a legal tender.
“The new generation coins will circulate alongside the coins previously issued and not withdrawn. We welcome commercial banks to place their coin orders using the already existing mechanism,” directed Mr Wanyagi.
The CBK gazetted the new Sh1, Sh5, Sh10 and Sh20 coins as legal tender, replacing portraits of former presidents with images of giraffe, rhino, lion and elephant, respectively.
This is in line with the 2010 Constitution requirement that Kenyan currency cannot bear the image of an individual.
The CBK says it has been distributing material for public awareness on the features of the new currency through all its branches, currency centres and other outlets with public outreach.
The central bank declined to reveal the company that minted the redesigned coins but the British security printer De La Rue International disclosed in London Stock Exchange filing late November that it plans to deliver the first batch of the bank notes in the course of next year.
De La Rue said it had signed a £85 million (Sh11.02 billion) deal with the CBK to print new generation bank notes. The deal came after the September closure of the company’s books, necessitating the separate reporting.