July 16, 2020 / 3:02 PM / in a month

Portugal appoints Centeno as central bank governor

LISBON (Reuters) - The Portuguese government announced on Thursday that Mario Centeno, who resigned from his role as finance minister last month, will be the country’s next central bank governor.

Centeno will take over from Carlos Costa, who was nominated in 2010, from Monday, cabinet affairs minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference, and will serve a five-year mandate.

His nomination has been widely anticipated.

Speaking at a parliamentary committee about his possible nomination last week, Centeno said: “I’m qualified and I’m motivated to assume these roles ... Only those who have qualifications for the position can be independent.”

Centeno, who also stepped down as head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, is credited with reversing longstanding austerity policies while also achieving Portugal’s first budget surplus in 45 years in 2019.

But restoring fiscal credibility came at the expense of public investment, which critics say left the country’s social and economic infrastructure in a fragile state despite financial indicators improving.

Reporting by Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves, Editing by Ingrid Melander

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