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Controversy over Proposed Central Bank Reform
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Feb.'08 / 11:19

A new government proposal to reform the National Bank of Georgia is an attempt to “institutionally downgrade its status, which is unacceptable,” Vladimer Papava, a non-aligned MP and a senior fellow at the Tbilisi-based think-tank Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), has said.

A comprehensive economic package recently submitted to Parliament, among other things, includes a proposal to increase the National Bank’s accountability in respect of monetary policy.  If annual inflation reaches 12%, the president of the National Bank will have to resign.

MP Papava told the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) on February 7 that inflation was not solely dependent on the policies of the central bank; government is also responsible.

“So if the government, in accordance with this proposal, can blame the head of the central bank for double-digit inflation, then he should be able to raise the responsibility of the government as well,” MP Papava said.

He said the government had selected the perfect time to introduce the initiative, given the opposition’s preoccupation with the upcoming parliamentary elections and the fact that the NBG is currently without a president. “What I am saying is that we should not hurry; let’s wait for the new parliament to be elected and let this new parliament decide,” he said.

Co-author of the initiative Kakha Bendukidze, the former state minister in charge of reforms and current head of the government’s administration, downplayed the concerns, saying the central bank would have all necessary levers at its disposal to control inflation.

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