Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on banks to find new innovative ways of supporting the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The President spoke at the Central Bank of Kenya in Nairobi when he presided over the launch of new generation Kenya Shilling coins that conform with the provisions of the 2010 Constitution.
The new generation coins will continue the tradition of depicting an aspect that best describes Kenya. They bear no symbols or portraits of persons as outlined in the 2010 constitution.
The coins will be available in denominations of Sh1, Sh5, Sh10 and Sh20 and will begin to circulate Tuesday.
The Sh1 coin depicts the image of a giraffe while the Sh5 coin bears the image of a rhino. The Sh10 coin bears the image of a lion while the Sh20 coin has the image of an elephant.
"Indeed, the choice of the main theme "Kenya Reborn and Prosperity" is a true reflection of the spirit of our Constitution and Kenya's development goals as outlined in Vision 2030," said President Kenyatta when he spoke at the unveiling ceremony at the Central Bank of Kenya.
The President said the new generation coins honour the wishes of the people of Kenya in regard to their national currency, as expressed in the Constitution.
"I am happy to note that the public aspirations and views were considered by the Central Bank of Kenya when selecting the features to be depicted in our National coinage," said the President.
He also thanked the Central Bank of Kenya management for including, in the new coins, features that make them more accessible to visually impaired persons.
"A nation's currency is not merely an instrument for exchange of value. Beyond being a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account, the motifs and design elements in currencies present a unique way of recording history, celebrating a country's diverse culture or natural environment," said the President.
The President thanked the management of CBK for successfully steering the banking sector, monetary policy and our national payments system, in a challenging global and domestic environment.
The Head of State said the Kenya shilling has remained fairly stable and competitive thanks to the hard work and commitment by CBK.
"Equally encouraging the banking industry has been vibrant, competitive and most innovative in the continent. This has gone a long way to support our social and economic transformation agenda that is articulated in the Vision 2030 National Blueprint," said the President.
The President said robust public institutions are a prerequisite for effective public service delivery and the realization of sustained development for any nation, Kenya being no exemption.
He said independence of institutions is a necessity for the success of every nation but the institutions should operate knowing that they are not independent of Government.
"We achieve positive outcomes when public institutions, like the Central Bank of Kenya, pursue their constitutional and statutory mandates in an environment of liberty and their constitutionally guaranteed operational independence," said the President.
The President called on the banking sector, which was well represented at the event, to extend more credit facilities for the SMEs.
He said SMEs is the most important sector in Kenya's economy.
"Avail more credit to SMEs. They are the ones who create jobs and guarantee you good returns," said the President.
He said banks should know that the days when only big borrowers were trusted to be secure are long gone.