Egyptian president appoints new central bank governor - presidency

Wednesday 21-10-2015 01:43 PM
Egyptian president appoints new central bank governor - presidency

United States one dollar bills are curled and inspected during production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington November 14, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron


CAIRO, Oct. 21 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointed Tarek Amer as the new governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Wednesday after former governor Hesham Ramez handed in his resignation, the presidency said.

This comes less than a week after multiple depreciations of the Egyptian pound, bringing its official price at state auction to 7.93, which means it is changing hands for 8 pounds against the dollar on the ground.  

Ramez resigned because his tenure "was about to end," the presidency said in a statement. Ramez's tenure was due to expire on Nov. 26. Amer will take over as governor of the bank for four years, starting Nov. 27. 

Ramez took over as CBE governor in February 2013, under then-President Mohamed Mursi, who would be ousted by the military following mass protests against his rule months later.

Ramez was tasked with completing the tenure of his predecessor Farouk al-Oqda, who headed the CBE for the previous nine years and who reportedly resigned because of disagreements with Mursi's monetary policy.

According to the Egyptian constitution, the CBE is an independent legal entity whose head is appointed by the president of Egypt upon the approval of a parliamentary majority. 

The House of Representatives elections are currently underway and the chamber is expected to convene by December.

According to the 2014 constitution the head of the CBE cannot be dismissed, but in July 2015, Sisi issued a law allowing the president to depose the head of the CBE and three other auditing agencies sharing similar immunity.

The controversial law gives the president this power under four conditions which have been criticized for their vague wording: the existence of solid evidence that the official had compromised national security, evidence that they breached their duties by harming the country's interests or other public figures, and if they were proven morally compromised.

Amer served as first deputy of the governor of the central bank between 2003 and 2008, working on reforming the monetary policy and banking sector. He also served as president of the National Bank of Egypt from 2008 to 2013. 

When Ramez took over in 2013, the Egyptian pound was changing hands at 6.5 pounds to the dollar. 

Since January this year, the Egyptian pound has lost 79 piasters against the dollar, taking the currency's decline to the year to 11 percent.

Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have advised Egypt to adopt such a "flexible" policy, in light of the domestic and international economic slowdown.   

Years of political turmoil have taken a toll on Egypt’s economy, halving the state’s foreign reserves and driving away tourists.

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