Liberia: Pres. Weah Reportedly Insisting on New Independent Central Bank Governor

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Monrovia – Several officials, including ministers in the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change-led government have reportedly been ruled out of the running to replace Mr. Nathaniel Patray as Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, FrontPageAfrica has learned.

“The CBL will have to be a totally new person who comes with high credibility and competence but all current Ministers or officials appear to be out,” a source familiar with the ongoing vetting process confirmed to FrontPageAfrica at the weekend.

The source said the goal is to move the nerve center of the Liberian economy on a totally independent path and move away from the excessive borrowing which marred the early days of the administration.

The source said President George Manneh Weah is looking to break from the past and favors a plan to  depoliticize the appointment of the next Governor. “The search appears headed in the direction away from politically connected persons or from current actors who have been in the old system.”

The source said the President’s insistence on the path of independence is a key reason why the appointment and vetting process has been delayed.

The President, according to the source is playing the CBL card close to his chest and is said to be keen on independence and credibility. “He maybe wanting a Governor with no ties to any political establishment, ruling or Opposition. He will also  not go for former Government officials who could have political leanings,” said the source speaking strictly on condition of anonymity because they have not been authorized to publicly comment on the vetting and recruiting process.

The President announced on May 29, 2019 a timeline for Mr. Patray to take his bow from the bank. “The Executive Governor is scheduled for age-related mandated retirement in the next three months. During that period, we will work to transition the bank to a new management.”

His Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby, announced last month that the President will name an appointment and restructure the leadership of the Bank this month.

Several names have been circulated in recent weeks regarding Mr. Patray’s replacement. Among those reportedly being considered are current Education Minister Professor Ansu Sonii and Mr. John Davis, President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment; former Finance Minister and World Bank technocrat, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh and Boimah Kamara, also a former Finance Minister and former Executive at the CBL among others.

Established on October 18, 1999 by an Act of the National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia, the central Bank became functional in 2000, succeeding the National Bank of Liberia (NBL). Mr. Elie E. Saleeby, who served as the Bank’s first Executive Governor, is among those linked for a return. 

The principal objective of the CBL is among other things, to achieve and maintain price stability in the Liberian economy, preserve the purchasing power of the national currency and promote internal and external equilibrium in the national economy.

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