More military officers appointed to leadership roles in Myanmar’s Central Bank 

The junta-controlled Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) recently appointed six lieutenant colonels to the positions of director and deputy director within the institution, according to a leaked directive seen by Myanmar Now. 

Thar Moe, Yarzar Lin, Thar Htoo Win, Kyi Ra Aung, Tun Aung Phyo and Zaw Win Tun were assigned to the roles in early June, the document said. 

Following the February 2021 coup, the military council installed several army officers in leadership positions within government institutions and the CBM. Among them are the bank’s current chairperson Than Nyein and his deputy, Win Thaw, who were both retired from the army at the time of their appointment. 

Than Nyein had previously held the same role under Than Shwe’s military regime and during the Thein Sein presidency.

A Myanmar financial expert described the June appointment of more military personnel to the CBM’s governance as “a very dangerous move,” particularly given that the institution is already headed by two ex-officers. 

“They should have appointed people who have actually studied finance instead of army officers,” the individual said on the condition of anonymity. 

The leaked document announcing the hiring of the lieutenant colonels stated that the men were still serving in the armed forces when they were assigned to their new roles and had been transferred to the CBM on the orders of the office of the military’s chief of staff. 

The junta has been attempting to gain control over the domestic flow of international monies since the coup, with the CBM increasing restrictions on the retention of foreign currency. 

Myanmar banks have been under pressure to exchange account holders’ US dollar balances to kyat, with the CBM playing a major role in the process. The institution has even called on local companies and banks to suspend and reschedule the repayment of foreign loans.

Some 40 percent of Myanmar’s population of more than 54 million people are currently living in poverty, according to recent World Bank estimates. 

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