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Kuwait fifth issue banknotes lack security features

KUWAIT CITY, June 19: The fifth issue of Kuwait’s banknotes lack security features and they were first printed in 1994; hence, the need to change the banknotes, taking into consideration that the industry has witnessed numerous developments since then, says Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh. The minister made the statement in response to the queries of MP Hmoud Al-Hamdan on the new banknotes.

According to the minister, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) consulted a leading banknote producer before concluding that it is necessary to change Kuwait’s banknotes. On the security flaws of the current banknote, the minister pointed out the banknote industry is not the only field that has witnessed developments and changes throughout the years.

He said the rapid advancement of technology also entails developments in the methods of forging banknotes. He explained the change is aimed at preventing counterfeiting because it is easy to forge the current banknotes due to lack of security features. On the lawmaker’s query about the cost of issuing the new banknotes, Al- Saleh asserted the cost is actually lower than that of the current banknotes despite the higher quality and security level.

He said the contract for the issuance of the new banknotes is with De La Rue - the leading company in banknote production. He disclosed Kuwait has been dealing with this company since the first issue of the Kuwaiti dinar in 1961 and the company has printed over 150 currencies for different countries around the world.

The minister revealed the total cost of printing KD 1.5 billion worth of banknotes, which is equal to the currently circulated amount, is KD 4.1 million; while the cost of printing banknotes for the strategic reserves is around KD 1.8 million.

As for why the Central Bank did not follow the streamline of development in banknotes to use plastic banknotes rather than paper, the minister explained the demand for plastic banknotes made of polymer is only 3.3 percent internationally, because the technology is not yet polished and it has a number of flaws. He added the leading financial countries like the United Kingdom, United States, China or the Euro Zone countries still use paper banknotes. In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji has forwarded queries to Al-Saleh if the central bank’s duties and responsibilities include the selection of furniture for its building.

He said Al-Qabas daily published a report that the governor of the central bank travelled to Italy on official mission to check the quality of furniture and marble or stones l for the central building which is currently under construction.

He wants to know the primary purpose of the official mission, if law number 32/1968 stipulates that the jurisdiction of the governor includes official duties related to the selection of furniture and construction materials for new buildings, employees who accompanied the governor , period of travel, cost and means of transportation. He asked if the governor used a government aircraft or a private plane from the Amiri Diwan.

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