Why it is Banki Kuu not Benki Kuu, CBK governor explains

The Central Bank of Kenya Act refers to BANKI Kuu ya Kenya, CBK Governor  Dr Patrick Njoroge has said.

In explaining whether the Swahili translation is BANKI au BENKI, Njoroge said “On translation back in 1964-66, the first proposal was to translate the institution’s name to Banki ya Katikati ya Kenya. Mr John Michuki (PS Finance) gently rejected it and referred the question to Mr. Mboya, who proposed that it be translated as Banki Kuu.”

“Mr. Mboya, the Minister for Economic Planning, maintained that it was the translation of an English word, so ‘Banki’ and ‘Benki’ were both correct. It was decided deliberately that on currency, ‘Banki Kuu ya Kenya’ comes before ‘Central Bank of Kenya’,” Njoroge said.

There has been an ongoing debate online over the correct translation.

Njoroge also said they are in touch in not only with central banks in the EAC but also in the rest of Africa and beyond to ensure due diligence on any flows going in and out of Kenya’s jurisdiction.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday to update about progress on the rollout of the new generation currency, Njoroge said the central banks are offering their co-operation.

The CBK governor also said recalibration of the various machines used by banks and other institutions – verification machines and ATMs – is ongoing.

“Most verification machines have been completed, while ATMs are ongoing. Training of tellers has also happened, and is ongoing. The publicity campaign on the new generation currency has been ongoing. Posters are available at all mobile money agents, banks and government institutions. There has been information dispersed through radio and television. There is also an app that was launched yesterday,” Njoroge said.

In regards to concerns raised over effects of demonetisation, Njoroge said they studied the Indian process in detail, “and we understood where their processes could have been strengthened”.

The governor said the reason they did not produce polymer banknotes is because upon their assessment, the found out that in Botswana, the most immediate public reaction was concern about the loss of texture. “Also, we treat our banknotes quite harshly,” Njoroge said.

But although polymer notes incorporate many security features not available in paper banknotes, including the use of metameric inks, Njoroge said they do not accommodate security threads, which many Kenyans recognise the security thread as one of the principal security features of currency banknotes.

The governor also said there will be no extension of the October 1, 2019 deadline for the withdrawal of the old Sh1,000 banknotes.

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