PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has challenged newly-appointed Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Christopher Mvunga to prove his critics wrong by restoring macroeconomic and foreign exchange market stability to Zambia’s economy.

And Mvunga says there is no way he will compromise the operational independence of the Central Bank.

Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony for Mvunga at State House, Tuesday, President Lungu urged Mvunga to apply his over-30 years’ experience in the financial sector to restore macroeconomic and foreign exchange market stability to Zambia’s economy.

Mvunga’s takes over from dismissed BoZ governor Dr Denny Kalyalya, who was abruptly relieved off his duties on August 22, in a surprise move that triggered widespread criticism at a time when the kwacha hit around K19.50 per dollar, now trading above an historic K20 per dollar.

“I am aware that your appointment generated a lot of interest from various sections of society. However, this should not detract you from focusing on the huge task and responsibility that has come with your new position. as governor of the central bank, you will always be at the centre of criticism. You should, however, prove the critics wrong by putting in the best of your ability,” President Lungu said.

“I want to emphasise that as governor of the central bank, you have an enormous task ahead of you. You will oversee the operations of the entire financial sector as well as the performance of the country’s economy.”

President Lungu challenged Mvunga to immediately tackle the kwacha’s weak performance against major currency convertibles, while ensuring macroeconomic stability and closer coordination with fiscal policy.

“These challenges, notwithstanding, I note that the central bank has taken measures to mitigate the situation. your immediate task, as you take up this new position, is to ensure that there is closer coordination between fiscal and monetary policy to consolidate the existing measures. I expect the Bank of Zambia to re-double efforts to achieve and maintain stability in the foreign exchange market by closely working with the Ministry of Finance. At the same time, the Bank of Zambia must continue to review and strengthen policies, where appropriate, to improve performance and ensure that the financial sector remains stable, while inflation is brought back to the single digit range over the medium-term,” said President Lungu.

“We must create a win-win situation for all the players in the financial sector and the economy, at large, particularly, finding more efficient ways of financing agricultural inputs and managing the oil procurement sector. The current efforts to address debt sustainability and reduce the country’s debt service burden need to be sustained and a successful outcome achieved.”

And speaking to journalists after the ceremony, Mvunga promised that he would not compromise the operational independence of the Central Bank.

“I also want to reassure stakeholders that the operational independence of the Central Bank will be retained. There’s no way that we are going to compromise, that I can compromise the operational independence of the Central Bank and it will be in line with the relevant legislation such as the Bank of Zambia Act and also in line with international best practices,” said Mvunga.

And the Head of State swore-in four others including Dr Emily Sikazwe, who was elevated to serve as Electoral Commission of Zambia Viice-Chairperson and Major General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda, (Rtd), as an ECZ member, together with Mumba Tembo and Mervis Sooli, who were both appointed as public policy specialists at Cabinet Office.