I’ll not wait by the phone over new term, says CBK boss


CBK governor Patrick Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge has played down speculation on whether he will be reappointed for a final four-year term, saying “he is not spending all day by the phone” waiting for a call from the President.

Dr Njoroge, while addressing his last post-Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) media briefing of his first term yesterday, said he will focus on implementing monetary policy in case he is re-appointed.

“I think all those that are asking me about whether the job offer is coming and all that, my view is simple. If it comes, it comes,” Dr Njoroge said in response to questions from reporters.

The four-year tenure of Dr Njoroge and his deputy, Sheila M’Mbijjewe, are set to end next month. This has turned the spotlight on the appointing authority, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Dr Njoroge, 58, was appointed on June 26, 2015 and his four-year renewable term is set to end on June 19.

“I never worry about these things. You cannot worry about things that you can’t change. I worry more about the things that are in my control. That is the only thing that matters, and in effect in terms of speculating, I have learnt that speculation doesn’t always lead you anywhere. If anything, it raises your anxiety level and I do want my blood level to be sort of more or less same, not spiking every now and then,” he told reporters.

State officials have remained mum on a new appointment or renewal of the governor’s term, which is critical for policy predictability.

The governor’s term is renewable only once, in line with the law.

“You know I could spend all my day on the phone waiting for a phone call; that doesn’t help. Let me get the work done. There is so much to be done and if on that day I have to walk away from the job, that’s fine. It’s not the end of the world, the institution will remain,” said Dr Njoroge.

Analysts say sending a clear signal on who the next head of CBK will be always helps to build policy certainty and stability in the financial markets.

"I do believe the market for the Kenya shilling would be affected. This governor is synonymous with a strong shilling.

“Uncertainty might make currency traders apprehensive," said Deepak Dave, a risk management expert with Nairobi-based Riverside Capital Advisory in an interview last week.

Dr Njoroge, a former International Monetary Fund adviser, assumed the governor’s office amid a currency slump and inflation risks.

Under his reign, inflation has averaged at 6.2 percent over the period, which falls within the government’s target band of 2.5 to 7.5 percent. The shilling has also remained fairly stable at an average of Sh101.97 to the US dollar over the period.