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The cost of printing new Kenya currency has shot by over 50 per cent to Sh. 15 billion.

This increase in cost is partly being attributed to delays and the introduction  of a new coat of varnish by the printer. Apparently, the new varnish will be used to reduce wear and tear and prolong the life of the new currency. Initially, printing of the new currency by British security printing firm De La Rue International had been estimated to be Sh. 5 billion.

“Government Consolidated Fund (GRF) resources are needed for…provision of new generation currency in line with the 2010 Constitution. CBK is mandated to issue new generation currency, with an expected cost of Sh. 15 billion,” said the CBK in a statement.

Last month, De La Rue retained the lucrative currency printing tender after the Court of Appeal reversed a High Court decision that nullified it. However, activist Okiyah Omtatah has since proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision.

De La Rue has had a stranglehold on Kenya’s lucrative money printing business except for the period between 1966 and 1985 when another UK firm, Bradbury Wilkinson, did the job. There was opposition to extending the contract under the new currency.

The British firm last year beat three other European bank note printing firms, German firm Giesecke & Devrient, Swedish firm Crane Currency and Oberthur Fiduciaire of France to the hotly contested and lucrative contract.

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