- Francis Chang-Leng has this week offered his resignation as Governor of the Seychelles Central Bank to President James Michel, who has accepted it. The resignation comes as the IMF moves in to restructure the island state's ailing economy.
Mr Chang-Leng's retirement marks the end of a 30-year career in the civil service, of which 24 years have been spent with the Central Bank including being its general manager from 1995 to 2001, when he was promoted to the position of Governor and principal secretary at the Ministry of Finance.
It has been reported in the Seychelles government newspaper 'Nation' that Mr Chang-Leng had cited health problems in his letter of resignation. There are however speculations that connect his resignation to the current recession in Seychelles, which has led government to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Under the Central Bank of Seychelles Act 2004, the Central Bank governor is appointed by the President of the Republic, but thereafter operates independently of the executive arm of government.
This coming week, President James Michel is expected to address the Seychellois nation on his reform programme after intense negotiation with the IMF and World Bank. One of the expected measures is for the country's currency - the Seychelles Rupee - to be floated, which is expected to bring an immediate drop in its current value.
Seychelles, one of Africa's richest nations with citizen welfare comparable to Europe, has accumulated an unsustainable debt over the last decade, now amounting to an estimated US$ 800 million; equalling almost 175 percent of GDP. The government has had to seek debt restructuring from its debtors, who in turn demanded an economic reform agreement with the IMF.
The crisis, which already was being noted under President Michel's predecessor Albert Rene, was initiated by exaggerated government spending and a high dependence on the moody tourism sector. It was exacerbated by very high oil and other commodity prices, which caused a depletion of foreign currency reserves and made further debt down-payment impossible.
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