The head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, issued a decree on Tuesday to dismiss Hazem Karfoul, governor of the Central Bank of Syria (CBS), after nearly three years of occupying the position.
The decree did not name a new CBS governor, amid expectations that another decree will be issued regarding the appointment of a new head.
Muhammad Ibrahim Hamra holds the position of CBS First Deputy.
Karfoul’s dismissal came at a time when the Assad regime is suffering from a stifling economic crisis, as a result of the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound to never before seen levels, in addition to its inability to provide the basic necessities of life for citizens in the areas under its control — including bread, gas, gasoline, and electricity.
By relieving Karfoul from his post, the regime is trying to absorb anger in the Syrian street, especially when it comes to the exchange of the pound, which is witnessing a great discrepancy between black market rates and the official CBS rate, amid the regime’s inability to control the situation.
The exchange rate of the pound against the dollar has reached 3,300 today, while the CBS rate is still averaging 1,256 pounds to the dollar.
Assad first touched on the issue of the collapse of the pound and the floundering of the exchange rate two weeks ago, holding the speculators and the beneficiaries responsible.
Assad talked about his government’s achievements at this level, “without there being a possibility of solving the problem radically,” as he put it.
Who is Hazem Karfoul?
Hazem Younes Karfoul served as governor of CBS by an Assad-issued decree in September 2018, succeeding Duraid Dergham, who had assumed that position in 2016.
Karfoul is the third CBS governor since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011, and the 12th ruler of the bank since its inception. His name is on the US sanctions list, known as the Caesar Act.
Prior to his appointment as governor, Karfoul had been assigned to a position as First Deputy Governor of CBS in 2014, in addition to being a member of the Syrian Economic Sciences Society.
Karfoul holds a Ph.D. in finance and banking from the French University of Montesquieu (Bordeaux 4), in addition to a B.A. in economics and a diploma in international economic relations from the University of Damascus.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.