Zimbabwe

Zim's Gono keeps top job

2010-05-04 18:21

Special Report

Harare - Zimbabwe's controversial Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, has kept the top post in a new central bank board named on Tuesday in a bid to restore the institution's credibility after a currency collapse.

"We have appointed a board that in our view is second to none," said finance minister Tendai Biti at a news conference in the capital, Harare.

"This board is expected to restore viability, buoyancy, credibility, legitimacy and accountability at the bank. There is a huge task that has to be done at the bank."

Gono's continued presence at the helm of the top bank has been a divisive issue in the power-sharing government of long-time rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In 2008 Gono presided over the collapse of the local dollar and hyperinflation that saw prices doubling daily.

In March, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the top bank needed a new board to strengthen governance and adopt a budget that would downsize its operations.

The IMF added that governance at the central bank needed to be strengthened and its role refocused after abandoning the Zimbabwean dollar in favour of international currency in January last year.

International investors and several Western governments have raised concern over Gono's leadership of the central bank.

Biti said the bank owes more than a billion dollars and has been issued with summonses over the debt, resulting in some of its assets being sold.

Gono said some of the lawsuits the bank was facing were malicious, adding that the bank will be laying off some of its staff.

"We are now going to focus on core business," he said at the news conference.

"Naturally we are going to downsize, but that's for the board to decide."

The new board includes the country's first post-independence central bank chief, Kombo Moyana, former high court judge president George Smith, and lawyers and economists drawn from the private sector.

The new board will announce a new monetary policy committee to set interest and exchange rates.

- Sapa

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  gideon gono  |  zimbabwe

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