Kenyans are set to get a feel of the new Sh50 bank note after months of severe shortage

The Sh50 banknote is the most popular and lowest paper currency in Kenya.

  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has said it will soon release a batch of new notes to replace the tattered Sh50 bank currency.
  • The Sh50 banknote is the most popular and lowest paper currency in Kenya.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has said it will soon release a batch of new notes to replace the tattered Sh50 bank currency.

CBK governor Patrick Njoroge told parliament on Thursday that the shortage will be “resolved shortly”.

“We will be releasing another set of notes from our stocks. We will release them right away,” Mr Njoroge told the National Assembly’s committee on Information, Communications and Technology (ICT).

The Sh50 banknote is the lowest paper currency in Kenya and, as a result, the most used which may explain why it gets tattered and defaced quickly, the note is also extremely important in ensuring smooth business operations because lack of it risks clogging money circulation in the market.

“We have heard complaints of dirty notes. But the Sh50 note is the most popular banknote in the entire country. If you have Sh100, Sh200 and Sh500 and you want to buy something less than Sh50 from them, definitely the change will be Sh50, Sh150 and Sh450 respectively,” Dr Njoroge said.

The central bank governor had been invited by the committee to explain the role of the CBK in oversight of payment systems, including those provided by telecommunications providers.

During the hearing, ICT committee chairman William Kisang sought to know why the regulator had delayed in printing new generation banknotes as provided for in the Constitution.

“Why have you taken too long to print new generational banknotes as envisaged in the Constitution. We have had complaints of shortage of Sh50 banknote and if there is, they are too old and tattered,” Mr Kisang asked.

Dr Njoroge told the legislatures that a legal suit filed against De La Rue, the company that won the Sh10 billion-a-year tender had delayed the printing and release of new look bank notes.

“We would have had new banknotes to replace the dirty ones but we have legal issues. We will have clean notes once this matter is determined in court,” said Dr Njoroge.

In June, British printer De La Rue, which mints Kenyan currency at its factory in Ruaraka, Nairobi, said the banknotes will have a new coat of varnish to reduce wear and tear and prolong their life in circulation.

The 2010 constitution stipulates that the new currency should not bear the image of the president and it remains to be seen if the Sh50 will have a different look.

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