Why nationalising the Reserve Bank is a dangerous move
The Bank’s shareholders have little influence over policy, but their involvement is essential for transparency and openness, writes Richard J Grant
Recent calls to "nationalise" the Reserve Bank imply that the Bank is a private entity, raising questions about the correspondence between legal definitions and the realities of control, policy making, and administration. In fact, the Reserve Bank is a statutory creation of Parliament, which also determines the main policy goals that the Bank is tasked to fulfil. More than half of the Bank’s board of directors, including all the executive directors, is appointed by the president of SA in consultation with the finance minister and a governmentally appointed panel. That panel, in turn, approves a list of candidates from which eligible private shareholders may elect the remaining board members. The private shareholders have no direct control over any aspect of monetary policy or Reserve Bank operations. Their only role is in the election of a minority of board members from a pre-approved list. This involvement is valuable to the extent that it requires greater openness and provides tra...
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