Race for NRB governor heats up

Kathmandu, February 25

With the tenure of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Chiranjibi Nepal completing on March 17, potential candidates for the post have started rubbing shoulders with those in power.

Sources at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said that a few aspirants for the post of governor of the central bank have already started lobbying.

“As the tenure of Governor Nepal is coming to an end, aspirants are doing their best to ensure their stake to the post,” said an MoF official seeking anonymity.

Upon recommendation from the finance minister, the central bank governor is appointed by the Cabinet.

So far, NRB’s Deputy Governors Chinta Mani Siwakoti and Shiva Raj Shrestha; former deputy governor and Chief Executive Officer of Investment Board Nepal Maha Prasad Adhikari; NRB board member Subod Kumar Karna; and former finance secretary Rajan Khanal, among others, are seen as the top contenders for the new leadership at the central bank.

Among the candidates vying for the governor’s post, Siwakoti is considered to be close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and apparently the prime minister had launched Siwakoti’s book titled ‘Country Towards Economic Prosperity’ at a recent event held at the PM’s residence in Baluwatar.

Meanwhile, NRB Deputy Governor Shrestha who was recently given a clean chit by the Cabinet on allegations of misconduct has been saying that all allegations against him were aimed at tarnishing his credibility in the run-up to the race for the post of the governor.

Likewise, sources have said that NRB board member Karna has also intensified his visits to top leaders, the Prime Minister’s Office and the office of the president to claim his stake for the post of central bank governor.

Similarly, IBN CEO Adhikari, who retired as the deputy governor of the central bank, is also being taken as a potential candidate for NRB governor.

Former finance secretary Khanal is also learnt to have already expressed his desire to become the governor to the finance minister.

Sources at MoF said that a committee led by Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada is expected to be formed soon to shortlist potential candidates for governor and recommend the Cabinet for the appointment accordingly.