New Kenya Currency Giving Small Traders on Uganda Border Jitters

Uganda Traders

The last couple of days have been challenging for Kenyan traders on borders following the restrictive order by Central Bank on the old 1000 Kenyan shillings note circulation starting October 1 to combat illicit financial flows and counterfeits.

There has been positive feedback and everyone seems to be loving the new notes except for Kenyan Traders on the Busia Border. It is no longer business as usual because the new notes are giving Uganda traders jitters. What would have been the case of Uganda banks refusing to exchange their currency for the old Kenyan notes, implying Uganda traders preference for the new currency notes, seems to the other way round.

Uganda traders would rather have the old 1000Ksh notes than any new Kenyan currency, because of the striking similarity in the physical appearance of the new Kenyan notes and the old Ugandan notes that they have been using in trading. Small scale trade on the Kenyan Ugandan border is startled. It is going to be a while before the Ugandan traders familiarize themselves with the new notes as the fear of counterfeits is scaring the confidence in the new notes.

“It is better for me to take the old money than this new money. This new money maybe is fake. You cannot recognize whether the new notes are good money or not,” a Ugandan trader expressed attested.

For instance, the Ksh 200 note somehow resembles the 2000 Ugandan shillings note, Ksh 500 resembles the 5000 Ugandan note, and the one thousand Ugandan shilling note bears a striking physical similarity with the new Ksh 1000 note even though they have a different monetary value.

“It gets complicated in the evenings, for our trades. One might end up giving trading Kenyan notes for much less valued Ugandan notes, or the other way round, a situation that is very terrible for a small scale trader. It can get chaotic as some customers are very stubborn,” said a Kenyan trader.

Well, the new currency notes have already crossed the Rubicon, and it’s just a matter of time before things get back to normal.

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