MOSCOW Feb 26 The Russian government said on
Tuesday it was seeking greater representation on the central
bank's board under reforms to unify financial market oversight,
but said it posed no threat to the bank's independence.
Speaking to Reuters after reports that the government was
seeking extra seats at the central bank, Deputy Finance Minister
Alexei Moiseev said:
"Nobody intends to violate the constitutional principle of
the central bank's independence in its conduct of monetary
policy. This is the position of absolutely every participant in
the discussion process."
Moiseev was commenting on an earlier report on the Interfax
news wire which, citing an unnamed source, said the government
was seeking the extra seats.
He noted that the Russia's finance and economy ministers
already sit on the Bank of Russia's board, but do not have a
vote on matters of monetary policy.
Interfax said the proposal for more representation was
being considered under reforms to unify financial regulation
being overseen by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov,
although "there are a lot of opponents".
"Bearing in mind that government functions are being
transferred to the central bank, there is an idea to introduce
to the board of the central bank one or more government
representatives to exercise oversight," the source added.
The shakeup comes at a time of growing concern over the
central bank's independence, following complaints by the Kremlin
that high interest rates are choking off economic growth in
Central bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev, who favours a tight
rein on monetary policy, retires in June and speculation is
mounting that President Vladimir Putin will nominate a successor
more in tune with his desire to boost flagging economic growth.
Political influence over central banks is spreading across
ex-communist eastern Europe as leaders resort to pro-growth
policies to shake off the after-effects of the 2008-09 slump.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has led the way by
filling his country's central bank with appointees favouring his
economic policies, a move that critics say is undermining