ANC resolution to nationalise Reserve Bank a 'mistake': Tito Mboweni

Finance minister Tito Mboweni.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Finance minister Tito Mboweni believes that the ANC's resolution to nationalise the SA Reserve Bank was a mistake.

Mboweni shared his thoughts on the Nasrec policy conference resolution in a Twitter thread on Tuesday evening and called for a "fundamental national debate" on the matter.

"As a longstanding member of the ANC and its leadership structures‚ I know and understand our resolutions. I don’t need lectures on that. But on the SARB‚ I am convinced that we adopted a wrong resolution. What do we want to achieve? Our strategic focus: structural economic reforms‚" he tweeted.

The expansion of the Bank's mandate has remained a thorn in the side of the ANC‚ with leaders contradicting each other several times on the way forward‚ resulting in policy uncertainty.

Mboweni said the country must first spell out what it wanted to achieve by nationalising the Bank.

"Answer the question: what do you want to achieve by nationalising the SARB? Don’t tell me about internal debates‚ NEC‚ etc. What do you want to achieve? Let's answer that fundamental question‚" he tweeted.

The minister suggested that this could be a futile exercise‚ however.

"As of now‚ 90% of the SARB profits are handed over to the National Revenue Fund. So? What do we want to achieve? Tell the public. Let's debate. Don't say internal debates; this is a fundamental national debate."

Following an NEC meeting last year‚ ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the Bank’s mandate should be changed to ensure it did more to foster economic growth and create jobs.

Mboweni came out contradicting Magashule at the time. He tweeted that the government determined the mandate of the Bank‚ implying that the ruling party's NEC had little say in that regard.

In the ANC's manifesto ahead of the 2019 general elections‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “The ANC believes that the South African Reserve Bank must pursue a flexible monetary policy regime‚ aligned with the objectives of the second phase of transition.

"Without sacrificing price stability‚ monetary policy must take into account other objectives such as employment creation and economic growth”.

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