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n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Perspektief op die onafhanklikheid van die Bank van Engeland, die Reserwebank van Nieu-Seeland en die Suid-Afrikaanse Reserwebank

Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751

Abstract

Gedurende die afgelope twee dekades het sentrale bank-onafhanklikheid (SBO) tot 'n uitstaande institusionele eienskap en 'n erkende bestanddeel van goeie praktyk vir monetêre owerhede ontwikkel. Verskeie sentrale banke het hulle statute herontwerp om hulle onafhanklikheid te versterk en hulle van politieke invloede en inflasie-ontlokkende fiskale praktyke te isoleer. Die Reserwebank van Nieu-Seeland (RBNZ) (1989) en die Bank van Engeland (BOE) (1998) het dit gedoen en die Suid-Afrikaanse Reserwebank (SARB) het dit op deurlopende basis gedoen. Hierdie artikel gebruik beide politieke en ekonomies wetlike kriteria ten einde die wetlike onafhanklikheid van die BOE, RBNZ en die SARB te assesseer en te vergelyk. Eersgenoemde verteenwoordig 'n pioniersinstelling in sentrale bankwese en laasgenoemde twee is, weens sterk historiese skakels met Engeland, heg verbind aan die BOE. Die resultate toon aan dat al drie hierdie sentrale banke relatief hoë vlakke van onafhanklikheid handhaaf en dus onder die meer onafhanklike sentrale banke van die wêreld tel. Die RBNZ rangeer egter die hoogste op die SBO-skaal, met die SARB en BOE kort daaropvolgend.


It is generally acknowledged that central bank independence (CBI) has become an important institutional feature and accepted element of good practice in central banking. Consequently, scores of central banks in developed as well as emerging countries have amended their charters accordingly. However, it must be emphasised that CBI on its own may be challenged and vulnerable if not rooted in strong democratic and political institutions and if not supported by a culture of respect for the judicial system. This paper applied a collection of legal political and economic CBI criteria to the central banks of three countries selected on historical grounds, namely the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Bank of England (BOE). The latter is a pioneering institution in central banking whereas the other two, due to strong historical ties with England, are closely related to the BOE. Political criteria to assess CBI included: the policy objective of the central bank, appointment and dismissal procedures for the governor, deputy governor(s) and the board, accountability; and the locus of decision-making of the central bank. Economic criteria used for assessing the CBI of the three central banks are: financial independence, instrument independence, and limitations on central bank finance to government. In summary, all three of the distinguished central banks have a relatively high CBI but are still not on par with the benchmark of excellence in this regard. On the other hand, no one of the shortcomings in the charters of the central banks seems to be as fundamental or critical as to threaten the operation of the bank.
The RBNZ was one of the first central banks to come up with a drastically and uniquely revised version of its charter. It is currently regarded as a pioneer on this terrain and as one of the central banks with the strongest independence. This is borne out by the research findings above in which it is indicated that the Bank possesses the highest CBI of the three selected central banks. In fact, it has a slightly higher CBI than the mother institution of central banking, the BOE, even after the latter's amendment to its charter. The RBNZ can nevertheless improve those stipulations in its charter pertaining to budgetary independence and those that erode its independence because of government overruling of its policy objectives and its selected policy.
The SARB also has a relatively strong CBI, but its charter needs improvement in terms of strengthening its stipulation on the provision of finance to government and the absence of a clear, transparent and democratic ruling on the dismissal of top officials.
The BOE, a relative latecomer to the independence scene, has transformed its charter significantly, yet not enough to match the CBI of the RBNZ. Its primary objective is not a single and uncontested one. The locus of control of the Bank's policy also does not completely reside with the Bank since government can overrule its policy strategy and decide otherwise. Introducing clearer and more transparent procedures for the dismissal of MPC members will also contribute to strengthening the Bank's CBI.

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/content/akgees/47/1/EJC20022
2007-03-01
2019-08-24

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