PECULIAR KENYANS

Struggle to dispose of old Sh1,000 last minute

The last day of transacting with the old Sh1,000 note will be on Monday September 30

In Summary

• Many retailers started rejecting the notes before the deadline for demonitisation

While the Central Bank deadline for using the beige, elephant-branded notes is September 30, the business community argues they need enough time to exchange them. See story https://bit.ly/2nEkl3g

John Kamau did not expect his hometown shopkeeper at Lang'ata, Nairobi, to reject his old Sh1,000 note.

"It was on September 20. We still had 10 days before the deadline of phasing out old notes. Plus the trader was a friend," he said.

After hours of pleading, the shopkeeper politely declined the hitherto popular banknote.

 
 

"The trader argued that if he continued to accumulate the old notes, he may find it difficult to exchange them during the last-minute rush," Kamau said.

Kamau's story is not a one-off. The US Embassy consular section in Nairobi was among the first entities to reject the notes from September 12.

“This is due to the directive of the Central Bank of Kenya that 1,000 shilling notes of the old design will no longer be legal tender on October 1, 2019,” the notice read.

If you are still holding the old Sh1,000 note, you may find it difficult to transact with it, as banks, petrol stations, matatus, telecoms and leading retailers say they will not accept it.

While the Central Bank deadline for using the beige, elephant-branded notes is September 30 (Monday), the business community argues they need enough time to exchange them.

A spot check by the Star found that many businesses have printed notices giving their customers ultimatums ahead of the deadline. Some banks, petrol stations, matatus, telecoms and leading retailers have stopped taking the note.

From Thursday, you could not buy airtime or make M-Pesa deposits at Safaricom outlets using the old bill.

 

“Following the demonetisation of Sh1,000 note, we advise that the last day to collect the old currency at Safaricom shops will be Thursday,” read a notice from Safaricom’s regional operations noticeboard.

Tuskys supermarket deadline for old sh.1000 notes
Tuskys supermarket deadline for old sh.1000 notes
Image: COURTESY

SUPERMARKETS/RETAIL STORES

Leading supermarkets started rejecting the banknotes as early as September 20, with more giving deadlines.

Tuskys Supermarket issued its deadline as Saturday (yesterday). "We (traders) need time to exchange those notes, too. That's why we are issuing an early deadline. Many Kenyans are disposing of the old notes now," a manager at one of the Tuskys stores said.

French-owned Carrefour supermarkets stopped accepting the old notes on Friday.

Naivas Supermarket issued a deadline of midnight tomorrow. Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani said Kenyans are known to wait until the last minute.

“We are taking caution to provide sufficient time to offload the stock of notes in our possession to our various banking partners,” Kimani said in a press statement.

TRANSPORT

John Maina, a bus driver for Waiyaki Way route, said they stopped taking the old notes from Monday.

"The note has lost value in our view and we are no longer taking it,” he said.

A matatu conductor in a Mombasa Road route said transacting in the old Sh1,000 notes is risking business as even petrol stations are rejecting them.

Oilibya petrol station set its deadline as yesterday noon. "We have been asked not to pick any old Sh1,000 banknote afternoon on Saturday," Stella Kanini said.

Java Cafe's deadline of old sh1000 notes
Java Cafe's deadline of old sh1000 notes
Image: COURTESY

FOOD STORES 

Fast food franchises Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn and Chicken Inn on Thursday stopped taking old Sh1,000 notes from their customers.

“Dear customer, as per the directive, we will not be accepting the old Sh1,000 note from September 26, kindly use lower denominations or other means of payment,” read a text message from Pizza Inn to its customers.

Mugg and Bean stopped collecting the old notes on Thursday as well.

 Java House, however, will comply with CBK's deadline. 

PHARMACIES 

Most pharmacies have stopped taking the old notes. Goodlife Pharmacy set a deadline on Wednesday.

"So many customers have had to use M-Pesa for we stopped taking the old Sh1,000 note," Jane Wairimu said.

After the deadline, the old Sh1,000 banknotes being withdrawn will be shredded and burned into ashes in Nairobi’s Kariobangi area.

Once the old notes are received at the CBK branches, they will be transported in trucks to the headquarters, where they are received, verified and stored in a deoxygenated room under the strict supervision of trustees and senior police officers attached to the bank.

The top officials will then set a date within a week when the collected notes will be cut into finer shreds and packed in sacks before being transported to Kariobangi North, near the market, where they will be burnt in the open under the watch of armed police officers.