Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday appointed Rogerio Zandamela for a second five-year term as governor of the Bank of Mozambique.
Zandamela was first appointed in August 2016. Previously, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from 1988 to 2016.
Zandamela took over from the central bank in the aftermath of Mozambique’s ‘hidden debts’ scandal – loans of over US $ 2.2 billion obtained by fraudulent companies Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management) on the basis of illicit loan guarantees granted by the government of then President Armando Guebuza, and signed by his Minister of Finance, Manuel Chang.
The scandal drove Mozambique into bankruptcy. The IMF, protesting that the government had concealed the true size of its external debt, suspended its program with Mozambique, and all 14 donors and funding agencies that had provided part of their aid in the form of aid. direct budget suspended all additional disbursements.
To date, direct budget support has not resumed, costing Mozambique several hundred million dollars a year. The Mozambican currency, the metical, has depreciated sharply against other currencies, and inflation has increased alarmingly.
The Bank of Mozambique, under Zandamela’s leadership, should take much of the credit for lifting Mozambique from the brink of economic collapse. Strict monetary policies (which at one time involved very high interest rates) stabilized the metical and inflation was brought under control. In June, inflation was 5.5 percent a year.
Zandamela tried to discipline commercial banks, and in July he hired the country’s oldest bank, Standard Bank. The Bank of Mozambique has accused South Africa-based Standard of fraudulent practices, including exchange rate manipulation and setting up an illicit payments network headquartered outside the country.
Standard and two of his senior executives were fined and temporarily suspended from foreign exchange trading.