(Bloomberg) -- Angola’s president named the nation’s central bank governor to the powerful position of minister of state for economic coordination, after dismissing the incumbent Manuel Nunes Junior in the wake of deadly protests over a cut to fuel subsidies.
Massano’s appointment was announced by President Joao Lourenco in a statement emailed by the presidency Thursday in the capital, Luanda. No reason was given for the dismissal of Nunes Junior from the post he’s held since September 2017.
In his new role, Jose de Lima Massano will be responsible for overseeing cabinet portfolios that deal with the economy and will lead the implementation of removing the subsidies in one of Africa’s largest oil-producing countries. The policy change announced last week doubled gasoline prices, leading to demonstrations in which at least five people have died.
Lourenco told reporters on Friday that he’s tasked Massano with addressing the “sensitive issue” of fuel subsidies. The new minister plans to determine the feasibility of using so-called fuel cards to enable taxi drivers, fishermen and farmers to continue paying discounted rates for fuel.
The president also asked Massano to set policies to reduce Angola’s dependence on oil revenue and improve its economic diversification, promote domestic manufacturing, and mobilize lenders to support the southwest African nation’s economy.
Massano, 54, was reappointed in 2022 to another six-year term as governor, after the adoption of a new banking law that paved the way for the central bank to operate independently from the government. He previously served in the role for five years until 2015, making him the country’s longest-serving head of the Banco Nacional de Angola.
Read More: Angolan President Brings Massano Back as Central Bank Governor
No successor to Massano was announced. Under Angola’s central bank law, Lourenco must nominate a candidate who is then appointed after receiving majority support from parliament.
(Updates with comment by president from fourth paragraph.)
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