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Amendment Proposes Non-Executive Chairman for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's cabinet has approved an amendment to the Reserve Bank Act proposed by Finance Minister Tendai Biti which provides for a non-executive director to chair the board of the central bank, supplanting RBZ Governor Gideon Gono in that post, sources said.

Biti has argued that the amendment will make the Reserve Bank more accountable and credible, and is consistent with advice from the International Monetary Fund.

Gono has dismissed the proposed amendment as part of a personal vendetta by the finance minister, maintaining that his replacement as chairman of the central bank board runs contrary to the best practice in financial institutions worldwide. But experts say most countries are moving toward central bank governance by committee.

Biti is expected to present the amendment to parliament next month for passage.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Biti as the party's secretary general is pressing for Gono to be replaced at the central bank, but President Robert Mugabe has insisted that Gono must continue as governor.

The top job at the Reserve Bank has become a major point of contention within the national unity government along with the office of attorney general, and the MDC has asked the Southern African Development Community and African Union to mediate in the matter.

Specialist Lance Mambondiani of British-based Coronation Financial told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that reforms at the central bank are overdue.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...