Kenyans will this week start withdrawing new generation currency from automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has said.
CBK governor Patrick Njoroge Tuesday told Parliament that bank ATMs have been reconfigured to dispense the new bank notes.
“People will largely get their salaries in new bank notes this month. We are starting to feed the ATMs with new currency banknotes as we wean them of old generational currency,” Dr Njoroge told the Public Investments Committee (PIC).
The CBK boss appeared before the committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to answer queries on the bank’s financial statements.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko gave a clean report on the banking sector regulator’s books for the year to June 2018.
Dr Njoroge told MPs that the CBK had started feeding ATMs in far-flung areas as well as those in highly populated areas in major cities and towns across the country with the new-look currency.
“We are starting with ATMs in far-flung areas because they are often forgotten. Those in cities like
Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu will also access the new-look banknotes," Dr Njoroge said in an update following concerns raised by MPs.
The committee had sought to know if the country is facing a shortage of the new banknotes since several areas, including Nairobi, have recorded low circulation of the new currency.
"We released some new currency to test its acceptance across the country during the launch in June. We have enough new currency banknotes that we are going to release by end of this week through the ATMs and banking halls," said Dr Njoroge.
He said all ATMs in the country will have new currency as the country moves towards the October 1, demonetisation deadline of the Sh1,000 note.
"As people get their salaries starting this week, they will get new notes.
We have put new currency in the ATM pipelines. We are weaning old-generation currency in the ATMs," said Dr Njoroge, who was accompanied by his deputy, Sheila M'Mbijjewe.
The CBK caught the country by surprise during the June 1 Madaraka Day celebrations when it announced the launch of new banknotes and withdrawal of the Sh1,000 notes in a bid to deal with counterfeits and money laundering.
The regulator announced that the Sh1,000 note would cease to be legal tender from October 1.
But the other low denomination currencies of Sh500, Sh200, Sh100 and Sh50 will continue to circulate alongside the new denominations.