Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

PM SIMEON EXPECTED TO NOMINATE BNB'S GOVERNOR

For a year and a half now the ruling majority NMSII and its coalition partners know that by June 11, 2003 they should have voted for a new governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB). They know it pretty well, but are not inclined to comment on the matter, explaining that the question has not been discussed yet and the Premier should decide who would be nominated... The PM and NMSII Leader Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has been defiantly silent on the matter. And the management and stability of Bulgaria's foreign currency reserve will depend on the person, who will succeed the incumbent BNB Governor Svetoslav Gavrijski to the post. Great Britain's Parliament, for example, nominated Marvyn King as the future governor of the Bank of England as early as on November 27, 2002, although the mandate of the incumbent Governor Sir Edward George elapses on July 1, 2003. But let's leave alone the countries where traditions are honoured and face Bulgaria where even the deputies from the NMSII are in the dark as to who BNB's future governor will be. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget and Finance Commission Ivan Iskrov, who has been NMSII's indisputable favourite for the position since the end of 2002, is not inclined to comment on the matter. You know that this is a political decision and it is not made by me or anyone from the NMSII. The only person who could say who will overtake the post is over there, Mr. Iskrov said on May 20, pointing to the Council of Ministers building. Of course Mr. Iskrov ment the Premier.Those who watch closely Mr. Iskrov's work in Parliament claim he is a good organizer and goes into the details of drafts for amendments to the laws, passing through the Budget Commission, and that he is very disciplined, too. However, Svetoslav Gavrijski remains the banking community's favourite for the position, although due to understandable reasons the bankers are not willing to declare in public their preferences. Mr. Gavrijski possesses some exceptional virtures. He is very diplomatic, a good administrator, and a person whose honesty could not be doubted. The Finance Minister Milen Velchev admits he works very well with Mr. Gavrijski and he rarely gives such evaluations. It is said that in addition to the bank community's and UDF's sympathy, BNB's incumbent Governor is also liked by most of BSP's MPs. But the Socialist party's leadership avoids the topic about the choice of a new governor of the central bank. And BSP is notorious for its strict party discipline. So, its deputies will vote as ordered by the party's leadership. Mr. Gavrijski's candidacy is also to the liking of some MPs from the NMSII.It is said that the Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is not a believer in the blind obedience of deputies from the ruling majority. Therefore, he is seeking a figure that would be acceptable both to the NMSII and its coalition partners, and to the banking community as well. Members of NMSII's political leadership said in front of the BANKER weekly that the incumbent Chairman of DSK Bank's Management Board Krassimir Angarski should not be excluded from the list of possible candidates for the position. You should bear in mind the fact that he is very close with PM Simeon's family, and especially with his son Prince Kiril, a member of the Cabinet who demanded anonymity said.It is true that Mr. Angarski signed with Hungary's bank OTP a one-year contract for the management of DSK Bank. But as OTP's President Sandor Chani said, there are clauses in that contract, stipulating conditions under which Mr. Angarski could cancel his employment relations with DSK Bank. And the 6-year mandate of a BNB governor cannot be neglected. The Premier's silence regarding the future head of the central bank gave rise to various guesses in the mass media. The media hurried to include in the list of possible nominees the Chairman of Biochim's Management Board Roumen Beremski, the Executive Director of the Agriculture Fund Assen Droumev, Sofia's Governor Rossen Vladimirov, and the former treasurer of the NMSII and ex-chairman of ROSEXIMBANK's Supervisory Board Maxim Dimov. Roumen Beremski (a former employee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and incumbent Chairman of Biochim's Management Board since November 2001) was included in the competition for the position of BNB's governor due to his close relations with the yuppies in the incumbent Cabinet and with the Premier's notorious consultant Spas Roussev. In an interview for the BANKER weekly (Issue 20, dated May 17, 2003) Mr. Beremski flatly denied he was aiming at the position of BNB governor. And at the cocktail party, thrown by the Finance Minister to celebrate the successful deal on DSK Bank, he decided to personally convince Mr. Gavrijski that he did not intend to compete with him for the post.The names of Assen Droumev, Rossen Vladimirov, and Maxim Dimov were also in the mass media, due to their past as financiers, but also because of their close relations with NMSII's coalition partner, the MRF. Mr. Droumev is one of the respected lecturers in finance at the University for Worls and National Economy, and a renown banker who was executive director of DSK Bank from 1991 till August 1999. His conflict with the then chairman of the financial institution Spas Dimitrov and the fact that he is in close relations with Ahmed Dogan's party were the reasons for his dimissal from DSK Bank. Two years later, however, Mr. Droumev was vindicated. After the NMSII won the parliamentary elections and set up a coalition Government with the MRF, he was appointed Executive Director of the Agriculture Fund. Mr. Droumev, however, is surprised by the allegations that he is among the candidates for the postion of central bank's governor. Nobody has talked about that with me. It is from you that I learn my name has been mentioned in that context Mr. Droumev said in front of the BANKER weekly.MPs say that the MRF does not target the position of BGN's governor. But the MRF Leader Ahmed Dogan is said he would be bargaining for the post of central bank's vice governor and for the head of BNB's Issue Department, which was vacated by Martin Zaimov in March, 2003. Rumours say that Mr. Dogan's favourite for the post is Rossen Vladimirov, who is responsible about banks in MRF's political leadership. However, Mr. Valdimirov could not be found for comments. Who is Mr. Dogan's candidate and is there such a person? Like their coalition partner - the NMSII - MRF's deputies keep silence on the matter and the only thing they say is that the question has not been discussed by the party's leadership for a long time. So, it seems that the candidates for the positions of BNB's governor and vice governors shall again be nominated at the last moment as if this does not concern the key figures in Bulgaria's banking system.

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