The head of Ukraine’s central bank (NBU), Valeria Gontareva, resigned on Monday following years of intense pressure, hate campaigns and death threats.
“My mission is complete. The country has moved to a flexible exchange rate and implemented the new monetary policy of inflation targeting. Secondly, the banking system has been cleansed of insolvent banks, and its future resilience strengthened,” she said after submitting her resignation to President Petro Poroshenko, effective May 10.
Championed by investors and the IMF, Gontareva adopted harsh anti-crisis measures heavily criticized by some lawmakers and local businessmen.
Gontareva said her resignation wouldn’t change central bank policy or its board in the near future. She emphasized the importance of further cooperation with the IMF to guarantee stability and keep the national currency stable.
Under Gontareva’s leadership, Ukraine managed to turn from a pegged to a floating hryvnia and started cleaning up the country’s banking system with over 80 lenders shut down. “I believe that resistance to changes and reforms will grow stronger now,” she said.
The successor to head the central bank has not yet been named with both the president and Ukraine’s parliament required to approve the resignation.
“The governor should be praised for the progress she has made in strengthening the NBU as a professional and independent institution, cleaning up the banking system, and carefully managing monetary policy, succeeding in bringing down inflation and rebuilding reserves,” said Jerome Vacher, IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine in an emailed statement to Reuters.
Vacher stressed it would be critical to select a highly professional and independent candidate as the new governor who could continue on the road Ms. Gontareva had placed the central bank.
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