Race enters home stretch

  • nrb governor selection
  • Recommendation criteria ‘finalised’
  • Committee discusses probable names
Race enters home stretch

Mar 17, 2015-

Two days before the tenure of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Yubaraj Khatiwada ends, the search for a new central bank chief is at the final stage.

According to sources, a three-member recommendation committee headed by Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat on Tuesday zeroed in on seven names–Prof Bishwombher Pyakurel, Chirnajivi Nepal, Yubaraj Bhusal, Shankar Sharma, Ram Hari Aryal and NRB deputy governors Gopal Prasad Kafle and Maha Prasad Adhikari.

The committee has to recommend three names—that of the serving NRB deputy governor and two from outside with strong economic and monetary expertise. The Cabinet will select the new governor based on the recommendation.  

The committee finalised the recommendation criteria and discussed the probable names on Tuesday, a highly-placed source said. “We will recommend the final three names on Wednesday.”

The next Cabinet meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, could appoint the new governor,” said an informed source.   

The committee had outlined three criteria for recommending the next governor. Sources said those having direct affiliation with any political party or having their membership are ineligible for the post.

Second, heads of banking or financial institutions (BFIs) or those associated with those institutions. Similarly, those having more than five percent shares in the BFIs will not be considered for the post.

These criteria rule out many bankers lobbying for the post, considerably increasing chances of economists and technocrats, said another source privy to the development.

Ahead of the committee meeting, Finance Minister Mahat had met Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Tuesday morning where

the two discussed about the criteria set by the panel and prospective names for the plum post.

Among the prospective candidates is Chiranjivi Nepal, who as economic adviser to PM Koirala enjoys the blessing of the head of government. Coming from a strong Nepali Congress background, Nepal had earlier served as chairman of Security Board of Nepal (Sebon) and advisor to former Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala.

Former finance secretary Bhusal is in-law of Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel. He served as the economic adviser to Afghanistan’s Finance Ministry when he was joint secretary.

Bhusal is currently the executive director at Nepal Administrative College after retirement as finance secretary last year.

Pyakurel, a noted economist and professor of Economics at the Tribhuvan University, has been involved in various research and academic works with various national and international financial institutions.

Sharma, former Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission and ambassador to the United States, also features on the panel’s list. He is also a noted economist.

Aryal, who retired from the President’s Office, is current on the NRB board.

As both the PM and finance minister come from the Nepali Congress, the intra-party politics will play a crucial role in the appointment of new governor, said a Congress leader familiar with the development. “Finance minister doesn’t want to compromise on the quality while appointing new head of the central bank.

But the PM seems to be adamant over his choice,” the leader added.  

Published: 18-03-2015 08:27

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