Deputy governors’ seats likely to stay vacant

Kathmandu, December 24

It appears the two seats of deputy governors at Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank, will remain vacant from Sunday, as the government failed to appoint officials to the posts within today’s deadline.

The tenure of Gopal Prasad Kaphle and Maha Prasad Adhikari, the two incumbent deputy governors of NRB, ends on Friday. But since Friday is a public holiday, the duo — who were appointed for a period of five years on December 26, 2010 — bid farewell to their jobs today.

In the meantime, a Cabinet meeting held today did not make any decision in this regard. So, when NRB reopens on Sunday, two seats of deputy governors are likely to remain vacant.

“Since Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel and NRB Governor Chiranjibi Nepal haven’t held discussion on the appointments so far, chances of getting two new deputy governors by Sunday morning are slim,” a high-ranking official of Ministry of Finance said on condition of anonymity.

As per NRB Act 2002, the governor has to recommend names of four special class officers — executive directors — for the post of deputy governors to the government. The Cabinet will then pick up two names, who will be appointed as deputy governors.

NRB currently has 16 executive directors.

It is not known what is causing the delay in selection of deputy governors. But since the appointments are political, it is assumed three major political parties are pushing for nomination of their preferred candidate.

It is essential to appoint qualified people to the posts of deputy governor because they work as advisors to the governor. Also, deputy governors are members of NRB’s Board of Directors and play a crucial role in formulation of monetary and other policies to ensure price and fiscal stability.

The two deputy governors of NRB look after macroeconomic and banking sectors, respectively. The deputy governor entrusted with the task of looking into macroeconomic sector has to devise plans to keep consumer prices at manageable level to ensure price stability. The other deputy governor, on the other hand, has to keep an eye on the performance of banks and financial institutions to ensure financial stability in the country.

In 2010, 10 out of 12 executive directors of NRB had expressed dissatisfaction over selection of deputy governors. They had even boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the deputy governors.