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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Liberia: IB CEO Henry Saamoi Tapped to Head Central Bank

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President Joseph Boakai is keen on appointing Henry Saamoi, the Chief Executive Officer of International Bank Liberia Limited (IB), to serve as the next Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.

According to sources within the President’s circle, he sees Saamoi as a net fit for the role who will bring renewed drive for financial stability and economic growth.

Saamoi’s tenure at IB has been marked by a relentless focus on financial inclusion and leveraging banking tools to boost employment, income and grow businesses.

Under his leadership, the bank has implemented digital banking solutions and engaged in financial literacy campaigns to bring banking services to the unbanked and underbanked segments of the Liberian population.

From humble beginnings as an intern at IB in 1999, Saamoi has meticulously climbed the corporate ladder, taking on roles of increasing responsibility before being appointed CEO in 2012. Under his stewardship, the bank has seen remarkable growth, with its asset base ballooning from $20 million in 2007 to $125 million in 2018.

“His  ability to nurture talent, drive innovation, and steer IB to new heights make him the ideal candidate to lead the Central Bank and steer Liberia’s financial sector into a new era of stability and prosperity,” one source with close proximity to the President and privy to the vetting process said on condition of anonymity. Saamoi earned graduate degree in  banking from the University of  Wisconsin in the United States.

He’s expected to replace Jolue Aloysius Tarlue the current Executive Governor and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia.

Tarlue, a risk and compliance management expert who served with key US banking and investment institutions was appointed in November 2019 to oversee reforms following the disastrous central bank crisis of 2018/19 when close to $100 million printed banknotes were reported missing.

The Central Bank under Tarlue has experienced relative stability putting inflation and currency depreciation in check while enforcing regulations to prevent commercial banks and financial institutions from crashing.

He’s out of favor with the current President as questionable Central Bank transactions are traced to the erstwhile Weah administration, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In February this year, President Boakai ordered the CBL audited with inspection focusing on the period from 2018 to 2023. The audit report is still pending but preliminary findings appears troubling.

 

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