* Central bank issues statement on law amendment
* Board and rate-setters say will work out joint position
* Bank says draft law must protect rate-setting council
* Bratkowski dissents from statement
* Statement follows scandal over secret recordings
(Updates with dissenting rate-setter, source)
By Christian Lowe and Marcin Goettig
WARSAW, July 11 Poland's central bank will
propose ways to enhance its independence from the government, it
said on Friday, seeking to take the sting out of leaked
recordings of its governor in private conversations with a
Andrzej Bratkowski, who sits on the central bank's Monetary
Policy Council, said he did not agree with the bank's
initiative, but a source close to the council said he was an
isolated dissenter and would not disrupt the bank's work.
Some in Poland saw the leaked conversation between central
bank governor Marek Belka and the interior minister as failing
to respect the separation between the central bank and the
government and threatening the independence of the rate-setting
Monetary Policy Council (MPC).
In the recording, Belka discussed ways the bank could use
its monetary tools to help the government avoid election defeat.
He used an expletive to describe the council, and said it could
be bypassed if it tried to stop the bank helping the government.
In a joint statement on Friday, the central bank's board and
the MPC said they would submit recommendations for changes to a
draft law on the central bank. The assumptions for the draft law
have been approved by the government.
"The proposed changes cannot limit the powers of the
Monetary Policy Council, or change the way it is appointed or
its numbers," the statement said.
It said the law must be in line with rules on central bank
independence, including making sure the central bank does not
print money to help out the government.
"The Monetary Policy Council and the board state that the
constitutional prohibition on the central bank financing the
budget deficit must be preserved in the draft law and fully
respected in practice," the statement added.
"POINTLESS OR WRONG"
In an interview with Obserwator Finansowy, the news portal
of the central bank, Belka said the draft law would set out the
bank's role in dealing with systemic risks to the economy, and
so needed careful consideration.
"Any solutions in proposed amendments to the law which might
limit the competences of the MPC are either pointless or
wrong," Belka was quoted as saying. He said he believed that a
compromise was possible on the new law.
Bratkowski, who was appointed to the MPC in 2010 with the
backing of the ruling coalition, said the central bank's
statement was not supported by all council members and was not
put to a vote.
"The initiative of the board and members of the Monetary
Policy Council has a truly political character and thus violates
the rule of being apolitical," Bratkowski was quoted as saying
by state news agency PAP.
Bratkowski has a history of dissenting from central bank
positions. In 2010, he threatened to resign unless the central
bank's profits for the previous year were re-calculated. His
demand was not met, but he stayed in the job.
"This is a lone voice on the Council and it should not
disrupt its further work," said the source close to the bank,
who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The recordings of Belka and Interior Minister Bartlomiej
Sienkiewicz conversing over dinner in the private room of a
Warsaw restaurant were published in news magazine Wprost.
Both men say they were talking about hypothetical scenarios,
were not plotting any kind of deal, and that the published
excerpts of their conversation distort what they were saying.
After the recordings were published, some analysts said the
central bank's credibility was dented because investors could
not know with certainty if its decisions were in the interests
of monetary policy, or based on political motivations.
If the central bank's recommendations are incorporated into
the draft law on the central bank, that is likely to go some way
to reassuring investors on this point.
(Additional reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Ruth