July 17, 2020 / 11:43 AM / a month ago

Thailand delays selection process for new central bank chief

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Next week’s interviews of six candidates for the role of central bank governor will be delayed, the head of the selection committee said on Friday, because some applicants might not have the required qualifications.

The committee has asked those applicants’ qualifications be rechecked before considering them again, Rangson Sriworasat told reporters. He did not elaborate or specify a new interview timeframe.

“There is still time for consideration and there is no need to rush,” he said, adding the committee would also have to wait for a new finance minister, who will pick the new central bank governor.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana resigned on Thursday.

The committee had planned to ask qualified candidates to present their visions on July 21 before selecting two, from which the finance minister would pick one as governor. The appointment needs cabinet and royal approval.

The next central bank governor will succeed Veerathai Santiprabhob, whose five-year term ends on Sept. 30, as Southeast Asia’s worst performing economy suffers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to media reports, Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput, a former World Bank economist and an economic advisor to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, is leading the race to be new governor. Two deputy central bank governors had also applied.

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty

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