NBKR’s Abdygulov returns to top job after stint in government

Tolkunbek Abdygulov spent a brief period as deputy prime minister before resuming the central bank’s chairmanship
Tolkunbek Abdygulov
Tolkunbek Abdygulov

Tolkunbek Abdygulov is once again chairman of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic, returning to the central bank after brief stints in two senior government roles.

Abdygulov resumed his chairmanship on December 22, the NBKR confirmed in a short statement. He replaces Kubanychbek Kulmatov, who was appointed chairman as recently as September. In early December, the Kyrgyz government appointed Kulmatov to head the state customs service, leaving a void at the top of the central bank.

Abdygulov had left the NBKR in August to take a position as first deputy prime minister. He was reportedly later demoted to the position of deputy prime minister.

According to local news service AKIpress, in a hearing on his appointment, one lawmaker asked Abdygulov in which role he felt “comfortable”, given the several changes of position in just a few months. Abdygulov replied that as a public servant, he served wherever he was appointed.

The central bank did not respond to a request for comment.

Young blood

When he first took up the role of NBKR chair in 2014, initially in an acting capacity, Abdygulov was one of the youngest central bank heads in the world, at just 37 years of age. He first worked at the central bank in 1997, rising to chief economist of the project implementation unit by 2005, and then joining the World Bank as a consultant in 2007.

He later held various roles in the Kyrgyz government, including as state secretary of the ministry of economic regulation, and head of the economic development department of the government’s executive branch.

He also served as a senior lecturer at the American University of Central Asia. He holds master’s degrees in banking, development economics and public administration.

The Kyrgyz Republic is currently receiving support from the International Monetary Fund, having been offered a renewed three-year credit facility in 2015. The country suffered amid regional fallout from the oil shocks in 2014. The latest IMF review, completed in December, welcomed the “signs of recovery” in the Kyrgyz economy.

IMF staff urged the authorities to remain committed to a programme of fiscal consolidation, and praised the NBKR for its focus on price stability. The central bank intends to transition to inflation targeting at some point in the future.

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