Kenyans break ‘last minute’ stereotype as deadline for old Ksh.1K notes closes
Commercial Banks registered average to routine operations on Monday as the window to change over to the new currency Ksh.1000 notes came to a close.
Citizen Digital ‘s review of banking operations on the last day of the four-month window revealed little to no changes in the day-to-day transactions, informing of Kenyans steadfastness in changing over to the new currency notes within the stipulated time.
The no-rush scenario served to break the long held stereotype linking Kenyans to the last minute dash as characterized in previous D-day’s including voter and Huduma number registration.
Further, the no-show is reflective of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) hard-line stance on the anchoring of Monday’s deadline on stone having ruled out any extensions to the demonetization directive in July.
Nevertheless, some traders were still holding out for a last chance shot at the changeover late Monday, sighting the lack of clarity in the separation of the new entry notes from counterfeits.
“We would hope for a little bit of lee way. We have fears on being duped by fakes even as we come to terms with the extinction of the older Ksh.1000 currency note,” said Mary Nyambura a trader from Nakuru County.
Meanwhile, the standard transactions came in hardly as a surprise to bankers having made the receipt of the smooth transition to the new era notes but for a few teething problems at the start.
“I wasn’t surprised of there being no last minute huge rush. The CBK has been out there and has seemingly created awareness right from when the directive was made in June,” Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Habil Olaka told Citizen Digital.
Earlier disclosures by the CBK showed 53 percent of the Ksh.100 billion returned notes to September 1 had been submitted in June further mirroring on Kenyans swift responses to the Madaraka Day order by the reserve bank.
The Big Question
CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge is set to hold a post-demonetization press conference on Wednesday to outline the orders success and sticking point as the demonetization order moves back into the last resort lender’s court.
Central to the CBK’s final disclosures will be the final figure on returned notes which will in effect tell of the directive’s success/failure.
As of September 1, Kenyans had returned an estimated 100 million pieces of the targeted 217.6 million individual pieces of the circulating demonetized note as of June 1.
The return of a sum lesser than the remnant 117.6 million notes in circulation will count success in part while the return of a similar reserve will mean a breakdown of the CBK initiative.
Even so, the Central Bank can count success from the largely unshaken monetary policy as inflation sieved through the process with no blushes even as jitters on the impact of increased money in circulation remained elevated throughout the process.
The order’s only sticking point will rise from currency depreciation with the CBK having seen the depletion of the local unit peak at an average Ksh.103.82 against the US dollar in spite of constant fire fighting including the sale of dollars from the usable forex reserve and a step up in open market operations (OMOs)