Ukraine parliament names central bank chief after controversial resignation

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Ukraine parliament names central bank chief after controversial resignation
Ukraine parliament names central bank chief after controversial resignation :File Photo

Ukraine parliament has approved the appointment of Kyrylo Shevchenko amid concerns over the central bank’s independence after controversial resignation.

Ukraine‘s parliament has appointed a new central bank chief after the controversial departure of his predecessor and amid concerns in western countries over the bank’s independence.

Kyrylo Shevchenko, 47, was appointed to the position on Thursday after securing the minimum 226 votes necessary, with a total of 332 legislators casting their ballots in favour of the candidate put forward by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Shevchenko, the former head of the large state-owned bank, Ukrgasbank, promised to preserve the independence of the institution in comments before the vote.

“I will not allow uncontrolled inflation,” Shevchenko also told lawmakers before the ballot, addressing key concerns among economists and Ukraine’s western backers.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the international business community expressed deep concern after the former governor of Ukraine’s central bank, Yakiv Smoliy, resigned earlier this month citing political pressure.

During his departure, Smoliy accused Zelenskyy along with legislators and the prime minister of pushing for “uncontrolled printing of money for the government”.

The IMF on Tuesday reiterated to Ukrainian authorities that the independence of the central bank was an important condition for financial assistance.

In June, the IMF unblocked $2.1bn worth of aid under a new $5bn plan to help Ukraine.

Analysts urged caution over Shevchenko’s appointment before the vote saying the new bank chief had an unproven track record.

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“Not many people know much about him,” Timothy Ash, a London-based economist and Ukraine expert, said on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

He is “not proven as a reformer. No one really knows where he stands on key issues,” Ash said.