Parliament Debates Possible Audit of Croatian National Bank

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MOST wants to enable State Audit Office to audit Croatian National Bank.

The audit of the Croatian National Bank (HNB) was one of topics which was debated in Parliament on Wednesday. MOST proposed amendments to the Law on HNB which were presented by MP Tomislav Panenić. He pointed out that HNB should be audited due to reports in the media about the alleged luxury lifestyle of HNB leadership and employees. For example, in 2010, when the economic crisis was at its worst, HNB spent 38 million kuna on its employees, including for sauna services, massages, tennis courts, gyms, squash courts and the like. One year later, the cost increased to 38.8 million kuna, reports Večernji List on November 2, 2016.

“Even former Finance Minister Lalovac (SDP) once wondered and asked a rhetorical question why, during six years of recession, the banking sector had such huge profits. Unfortunately, nothing was done back then”, Panenić said, adding that MOST was not satisfied with the level of transparency, even though they agreed that the central bank should enjoy a high degree of autonomy. “HNB creates its own budget without consultations with the Finance Ministry. That is why we propose an audit of financial statements and of the bank’s entire business operations. According to research, HNB has a very low level of transparency”, Panenić said.

Gordan Maras (SDP) said he would support the proposal. “With the latest proposed changes to the income tax laws, wages at HNB will increase by 3,000 to 4,000 kuna”, noted Maras. However, his party colleague believes that changes are being proposed due to just one person – HNB Governor Boris Vujčić. “They want to present him as a slacker who spends 300 days a year on foreign travel and buys a lot of expensive stuff. I was also horrified when I heard that they even employ a sommelier at the Bank. I think that such things are not acceptable. But, let us be honest and admit that this law is a way for MOST to hit Governor Vujčić”, said Tomislav Saucha (SDP), who added that the State Audit Office should also be audited.

Miro Bulj (MOST) rejected criticism that MOST was against Vujčić. “We are not against the Governor because he is a friend with Zoran Milanović. We absolutely do not care about that. Our only interest is transparency”, Bulj explained.

Milorad Pupovac (SDSS) said that MOST’s proposal was not bad, but added that Parliament should debate a much more important issue connected with HNB. “MOST is worried about travel expenses, but they do not care about monetary policy. They are not worried whether our monetary policy is independent and to what extent it serves the needs of our economy, our society in general. When did we have a discussion about the relationship between monetary and fiscal policy? We did not, and that is a subject which should be debated”, Pupovac said, which prompted praise from Ivan Pernar (Živi Zid).

“I am stunned. The Serbian minority MP said something which cannot be heard from Croatian MPs. Mr. Pupovac has demonstrated that he is greater patriot than 90 percent of the people who sit in this Parliament. I am amazed with the facts he mentioned, I have been talking about them for the last five years. Mr. Pupovac has gained my confidence. He said that it was much more important what kind of policies HNB would pursuit than how much Governor spends on travel”, Pernar concluded.


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