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Ukraine's central banker chief steps down citing pressure

Ukraine's president on Thursday accepted the resignation of the country's top banker, who has complained of political pressure. National Bank head Yakiv Smolii cited “systematic political pressure” as the reason for his decision to step down, but didn't provide any specifics. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accepted Smolii's resignation and asked lawmakers to endorse the decision.

PTI | Kyiv | Updated: 02-07-2020 21:05 IST | Created: 02-07-2020 20:50 IST
Ukraine's central banker chief steps down citing pressure
Representative image Image Credit: Wikipedia

Ukraine's president on Thursday accepted the resignation of the country's top banker, who has complained of political pressure. National Bank head Yakiv Smolii cited "systematic political pressure" as the reason for his decision to step down, but didn't provide any specifics.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accepted Smolii's resignation and asked lawmakers to endorse the decision. Smolii was named to the job in March 2018 under Zelenskiy's predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.

Members of Zelenskiy's Servant of the People party, which dominates parliament, have criticized the National Bank, arguing that its rigid policies have hurt the economy and stymied growth. Smolii's resignation follows the International Monetary Fund's approval of a USD 5-billion loan package for Ukraine intended to help it cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Ukrainian economy is expected to shrink by 5 per cent because of the outbreak.

The ambassadors of the Group of Seven leading developed nations responded to Smolii's resignation by emphasizing the crucial importance of the National Bank's independence. "An independent National Bank is a foundational achievement for Ukraine that has reduced corruption, driven growth and rescued a failed banking sector," they said in a statement on Twitter.

"To undermine this crucial institution would be a big step back and jeopardise the credibility of and support for Ukraine's reforms.".


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