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Opinion

Ukraine: Wanted – patient central bank governor

What’s holding up a key appointment for the Ukrainian economy and banking system?

Ukraine-NBU-Gontareva-Smolii-R-600
Acting NBU governor Yakiv Smolii with former governor Valeria Gontareva

In mid-April Ukraine’s respected post-Maidan central bank governor, Valeria Gontareva, tendered her resignation. More than seven months later the vacant post has yet to be filled.

Why is it taking so long? It is a question that National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) staff are starting to raise publicly. In early November deputy governor Dmytro Sologub said the delay was harmful and risked damaging relationships with markets and international financial organizations.

Two weeks later, Ihor Kononenko, the deputy head of president Petro Poroshenko’s parliamentary party said consultations were being held and several candidates were being considered. A decision might be made by the end of the year – but then again it might not.

What is particularly baffling is that the only two names mentioned by Kononenko were those of Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, the chairman of Raiffeisen’s Ukrainian subsidiary and acting NBU governor Yakiv Smolii.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with either of the two – quite the opposite.

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