Syria’s President Names New Central Bank Chief

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has appointed a new central bank chief on Tuesday, a week after the former governor was sacked amid Syria's spiralling economic crisis.

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has appointed a new central bank chief on Tuesday, a week after the former governor was sacked amid Syria’s spiralling economic crisis.

In a statement the presidency said that President Assad had issued a decree which appoints Mohammad Issam Hazimeh as the new governor of Syria’s central bank.

A lawyer by training, Hazimeh has served as deputy central bank governor since 2018, and earlier held posts at the justice ministry, the Damascus Securities Exchange and the state-owned company responsible for online payments.

He replaces Hazem Karfoul who oversaw an accelerating economic crisis sparked by civil war and compounded by sanctions, and a financial crunch in neighbouring Lebanon and was dismissed in a decree last Tuesday after three years in the post.

Hazimeh will inherit the daunting task of stabilising the local currency which has lost more than 98 percent of its value against the dollar on the black market.

Officially valued at 1,256 to the greenback, the dollar now costs nearly 3,000 pounds on the black market although the government last month started enforcing a series of measures to stem a further drop in the pound’s value.

They reportedly include new import bans and a state crackdown on unofficial money exchangers.

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