Isaac Awuondo tipped to be the over next Governor of Central Bank


COMMERCIAL Bank of Africa CEO Isaac Awuondo is being touted as the frontrunner to succeed Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, whose tenure as Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya ended at midnight.

Awuondo is said to tick all the right boxes, besides the fact that he has been a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is expected to name the new governor.

The CBA is owned by the Kenyatta family.

Others who have been mentioned as possible candidates include the acting chairman of the CBK Board of directors, Dr Mbui Wagacha, National Treasury Principal Secretary Dr Kamau Thugge and Dr John Ngumi of the Konza Technocity Authority.

Also featuring on the list is Prof Ndungu’s deputy, Dr Haron Sirma, who is likely to act while the President considers all the names before him.

Awuondo is said to have the upper hand, given his close ties to the First Family and the fact that he does not hail from Central Kenya or the Rift Valley, areas seen to be hogging most key positions in the Jubilee government.

The CBA boss also served in the Presidential team that restructured the parastatals under the chairmanship of Abdikadir Mohammed.

Dr Wagacha and Dr Thugge are said to be disadvantaged by their community origins at a time the President is said to be trying to reach out to other regions in the country. But if the President’s choice were reduced to between the two, he would more likely go for Dr Thugge, having worked with him when he served as Finance minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

The extension of of John Njiraini’s term as the Commissioner-General of the Kenya Revenue Authority for another three years is also said to be an added advantage to Awuondo’s case.

The President is reported to be consulting widely before making the announcement on who will take over from Prof Ndung’u.

Yesterday an elated Prof Ndung’u told the Star that he leaves the Central Bank in a strong position and listed five challenges that lie ahead of his successor.

i) Managing inflation

ii) Supervising banks

iii) Pricing of loans

iv) Payment system (using M-pesa, Airtel money, matatu cards, etc)

v) Restructuring CBK

Ndung’u also spoke of his achievements, including enabling 67 per cent of Kenyans to access banking facilities, compared to 27 per cent when he took over in 2007.

Prof Ndung’u conceded that he had not brought down interest rates as much as his critics would have expected, but noted that this was not his responsibility.


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