(Adds background on Kenyan economy)
By Edmund Blair
NAIROBI, June 2 (Reuters) - Kenya’s president has picked an IMF adviser, Patrick Ngugi Njoroge, as the next central bank governor, pending approval by parliament, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
Njoroge is an adviser to a deputy managing director at the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, has been named to lead the bank at a time when the shilling has come under heavy pressure because of the global strength of the dollar, falling foreign exchange revenues and a widening current account deficit.
Manoah Esipisu, the president’s spokesman, said Njoroge’s name was being put forward by President Uhuru Kenyatta for “vetting and approval” by parliament.
The president had been given a shortlist of three names after official interviews by the Public Service Commission, in charge of recruiting government staff.
His choice is expected to be approved by parliament, in which Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition has a majority.
Njoroge, who has a PhD in Economics from Yale University, would replace Njuguna Ndung’u whose term ended in March.
Njoroge declined to comment when contacted by Reuters in Washington.
The shilling has been sliding since last year, hurt by falling foreign exchange inflows due to reduced tourist arrivals after frequent attacks by Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents, and a widening current account deficit as importers demand dollars for capital goods.
At its last meeting in May, the central bank held its key lending rate at 8.50 percent and said it would pursue its tightening bias through money market operations to contain inflationary expectations.
The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee is on June 9, a month earlier, a move analysts said could signal a plan to raise rates.
Before joining IMF, Njoroge worked in Kenya’s Finance and Planning ministries. (Reporting by Edmund Blair; Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)