The Bank of Tanzania’s Governors and Board of Directors

Since its inception in 1965 under the Bank of Tanzania Act, the central bank of the United Republic of Tanzania has been ruled by an appointed governor. As of early 2019, the bank has had seven different governors, of which three have met or exceeded the now maximum tenure of two five-year terms.

Of all of the governors of the Bank of Tanzania, Professor Benno Ndulu has proven to be one of the most positively influential figures to guide the central bank. Following the scandals uncovered while his predecessor Doctor Daudi T.S. Ballali was in charge, Prof. Ndulu turned public opinion around to guide the bank down the right path. Now, the mantle has been passed on to Professor Florens Luoga, with Prof. Ndulu having served the maximum of two five-year terms.

The Bank of Tanzania’s current board of directors (February 2019)

The 2019 makeup of the board of directors for the Bank of Tanzania consists of a governor, three deputy governors, the principal secretary to the treasury of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, four non-executive directors, the representative of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of the United Republic, and the secretary to the board.

The standing governor of the bank is 60-year-old Professor Florens Luoga, a lawyer and academic native to Tanzania. President John Magufuli appointed the seventh governor of the nation's central bank on the 8th of January 2018. Having studied at the University of Dar es Salaam, Queen’s University, Lund University, and earning his PhD at the University of Warwick, Prof. Luoga was a very well qualified successor to Professor Benno Ndulu.

At the time of his appointment, Prof. Luoga was the deputy vice chancellor of the largest public university in Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam, and was the chairman of the board of directors of the Tanzania Revenue Authority.

Professor Florens Luoga is joined on the board of directors by non-executive directors Professor Nehemia E. Osoro, Mr Joseph O. Haule, and Mr Geoffrey I. Mwambe. Mr Palloty M. Luena is the secretary to the board, Ms Mary N. Maganga is the representative of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Mr K. M. Omar is the board’s principal secretary to the treasury of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. Under Prof. Luoga are the three deputy governors: Dr Bernard Y. Kibesse comes in from Financial Stability and Deepening; Mr Julian Banzi Raphael represents the Administration and Internal Controls; Dr Yamungu M. Kayandabila is the deputy governor of Economic and Financial Policies.

Professor Benno Ndulu (2008 – 2018)

Hailed for regaining trust from the public in the central bank of the nation following the External Payment Arrears scandal set alight under his predecessor’s reign, Professor Benno Ndulu is certainly one of the most respected figures to take the position of governor of the Bank of Tanzania.

Appointed by president Jakaya Kikwete on the 8th of January 2008, at the age of 57, Prof. Ndulu began as a professor at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1980s. His work at the public university contributed significantly towards the government’s implemented reforms later in the 1980s, leading to him working as one of East Africa’s lead economists with the Macroeconomic Division of the World Bank. It was here that Prof. Ndulu directly worked on the reform programme championed by president Benjamin Mkapa, which subsequently helped lead to over a decade of sustained economic growth in the country. He was also instrumental in establishing the African Economic Research Consortium, serving as a research director and then as the consortium’s executive director.

As governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Professor Benno Ndulu supported the expansion of financial inclusion, tapped into the growth of mobile financial services, earned back the trust of the Tanzanian public, introduced policies which led to macroeconomic stabilisation, brought down the annual rate of inflation to single digits, and oversaw strong economic growth at an average of 7 per cent per year over his tenure.

Doctor Daudi T.S. Ballali (1998 – 2008)

From 1979 to 1997, Doctor Daudi T.S. Ballali worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before becoming president Benjamin Mkapa’s financial advisor for a year afterwards. It was from this role that Dr Ballali was offered the role of governor at the Bank of Tanzania, as selected by the president, taking over from Doctor Idris M. Rashidi who completed his term.

In 2008, what would have been the designated final year of his second term as the governor of the central bank, it was discovered that the Bank of Tanzania had made irregular payments amounting to $116.5 million. In a case that would become known as the External Payment Arrears scandal, an international audit found that Dr Ballali was seriously implicated in the offence, leading to his sacking.

Once the case came to light, the former governor went to the United States of America for medical treatment, where he reportedly succumbed to his illness and died later that year.

Doctor Idris Rashidi (1993 – 1998)

After graduating from the University of Dar es Salaam, Doctor Idris Rashidi joined the Bank of Tanzania in 1972, becoming the managing director of the National Bank of Commerce in 1992. It was from here that Dr Rashidi would go on to be selected for the role of governor of the Bank of Tanzania, an opportunity which was accepted by him in 1998 following the death of governor Gilman Rutihinda. Dr Rashidi believed in a government-facilitated free market economy and so enacted the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1991 and the Foreign Exchange Act 1992.

Mr Gilman Rutihinda (1989 – 1993)

Mr Gilman Rutihinda’s spell as the governor of the Bank of Tanzania was cut short by his death in 1993. In remembrance of the former governor, the Bank of Tanzania established the Gilman Rutihinda Trust Fund in 1994, which provides sponsorship to the best university students who seek a Master’s degree in economics, finance, or banking in Tanzania.

Mr Charles Nyirubu (1974 – 1989)

Mr Charles Nyirubu stands as the longest-serving governor of the Bank of Tanzania with 15 years at the helm. He is credited with implementing the nation’s earliest economic reforms from 1981 to 1989, which led to the major reforms in the 1990s.

Mr Edwin I. Mtei (1966 – 1974)

To begin with, Mr Edwin I. Mtei was on the board of representatives of the East African Currency Board when its headquarters relocated from London to Nairobi in 1960. Once the Bank of Tanzania was established as the nation’s central bank following the dissolution of the East African Currency Board in 1966, Mr Mtei was named the first governor of the new Bank of Tanzania. His autobiography ‘From Goatherd to Governor: The Autobiography of Edwin Mtei’ details his rise from bush school to university to becoming governor.

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