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5 Oct, 2023 08:54

South Sudan leader fires central bank governor and deputies

James Alic Garang has been sworn in to replace Johnny Ohisa Damian as the institution’s chief, the government has announced
South Sudan leader fires central bank governor and deputies

South Sudan’s government has sworn in a new central bank governor, James Alic Garang, and two deputies, after the country’s president, Salva Kiir, announced earlier this week that he had fired the former head of the bank, Johnny Ohisa Damian.

Damian and other senior finance officials in the African country were sacked on Monday, with the president naming Garang, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) adviser, to take over as governor, according to state TV.

The latest action is the South Sudanese leader’s second removal of a central bank chief in just over a year, and the statement announcing the decision did not provide an explanation for the change. However, according to local media, the move comes amid concerns about the country’s economic downturn.

The landlocked country’s central bank and Finance Ministry have endured frequent leadership changes. The head of the financial institution was replaced twice in 2020 alone.

Damian took over as governor in August of last year, succeeding Moses Makur Deng, who was removed from the post.

On Monday, Kiir also replaced the institution’s two deputy governors, the head of the government’s revenue authority, and other senior officials in the finance and trade ministries.

In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, the government announced that Garang, the newly appointed central bank governor, had been inducted into office, along with his two appointed deputy officials, Samuel Yanga Mikaya and Nyiel Gordon Kuol.

South Sudan’s economy has been in decline since the civil war in 2013, which forced around 25% of the country’s population to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The conflict is said to have had a significant impact on the country’s oil production, which was once the primary driver of its economy.