July 18, 2020 / 8:04 AM / 18 days ago

Thai central bank chief rule out joining new cabinet amid pandemic

Thailand's Central Bank Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand, October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Matthew Tostevin/Files

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s outgoing central bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said on Saturday he would not join a new economic team as the prime minister looks for policymakers to steer Southeast Asia’s worst performing economy through the coronavirus crisis.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and two other ministers resigned on Thursday in a move that added uncertainty to Thailand’s policy-making.

Local media had linked Veerathai to an unspecified cabinet position to shore up Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s economic team.

“Given media reports that I was approached to join a new economic team, I already thanked the prime minister for his trust (in me) and told him earlier in the week that would not be able to take any posts,” Veerathai said in a statement.

Veerathai’s five-year term as central bank governor ends in September and the bank is in the process of selecting the next governor.

Prayuth said on Friday he had approached private bank executive Predee Daochai to join his cabinet.

Prayuth also said he asked previous central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul to join his cabinet but Prasarn declined the invitation.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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