Ukraine central bank governor Valeria Gontareva confirmed Monday she would resign on May 10, adding she had already proposed “several names of possible successors.” Gontareva told reporters in Kyiv her resignation was not a sign of fundamental changes to central bank policy in the country.
A former investment banker and business partner of President Petro Poroshenko, Gontareva took charge nearly three years ago after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and with the country’s eastern and western parts deeply divided and amid a pro-Russian separatist uprising in the east.
Gontareva introduced sweeping reforms, including shutting down half the country’s lenders suspected of money laundering and having non-transparent ownership structures.She also oversaw the nation’s switching to a flexible exchange rate.
Her measure won praise from the International Monetary Fund, which has supported the nation with a $17.5-billion (14.6-billion-euro) bailout since 2015.
Analysts said her resignation is a serious blow to Ukraine, since she was practically the only economic decision-maker left in the country who continued to inspire a measure of confidence in the international business community.
Since the departure of Ukraine’s former Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko in April 2016, Gontareva had been the last senior Ukrainian official left among those who negotiated the country’s bailout agreement with the IMF and private creditors.
Despite her successes, Gontareva had met with increasing resistance from some lawmakers, who insisted she was responsible for the devastating economic situation in the country.
Ukraine’s central bank earlier this month cut its 2017 growth forecast by nearly a full percentage point as a result of the current trade blockade with the east, saying it could depress metal exports from the eastern regions and expand the current accounts deficit by more than 25 percent to $4.3 billion.