Vietnam lawmakers approved Le Minh Hung as the governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, a day after he was nominated by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Hung, a former deputy governor of the State Bank and No. 2 in the Communist Party administration office, was approved by the National Assembly on Saturday as the new central bank governor, according to a statement on the government’s website. The position is usually for five years.
Vietnam’s new leaders face a host of economic challenges, including a drop in agriculture production because of a crippling drought and sliding oil revenue. Phuc, a sole nominee elected by the National Assembly on April 7, asked parliament to dismiss 20 cabinet members, including Nguyen Van Binh, who was appointed central bank governor in August 2011. The government is also under pressure to enact reforms to comply with trade agreements and continue to build up the banking system.
Reaching Vietnam’s 2016 economic growth target of 6.7 percent is the “biggest challenge” for the new government, Tran Hoang Ngan, a lawmaker, told the National Assembly on April 2. Vietnam is vulnerable to external shocks if it doesn’t continue to bolster its banking system and restructure state companies, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a March 18 interview.
The State Bank of Vietnam devalued the dong for the second time in six months in January as currencies across Asia came under pressure. That may boost inflation, which will probably average 3 percent in 2016, according to forecasts from the Asia Development Bank.
Truong Hoa Binh, former chief judge of the People’s Supreme Court, Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the Communist Party’s Economic Committee, and Trinh Dinh Dung, former construction minister, were approved to be deputy prime ministers, according to the statement. Two vice ministers were also approved to be ministers. Nguyen Chi Dung becomes the planning and investment minister, while Tran Tuan Anh is now the industry and trade minister.