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Polish Central Bank Independence Is `at Risk,' Rate Setter Glapinski Says

Poland’s central bank independence is “at risk” as policy members discuss how much of the bank’s profit should be transferred to the government to bolster the state budget, Monetary Council member Adam Glapinski said.

“Some members seem to represent the government’s point of view and their action is aimed only at finding additional billions of zloty for the budget,” Glapinski said in a telephone interview out of Warsaw today. “It clearly puts the central bank’s independence at risk.”

The Monetary Policy Council, in which six of the nine members appointed last quarter by the government want to raise the amount of money available to boost the state budget, shouldn’t be allowed to change the size of last year’s reported profit, Glapinski said today. The bank booked a profit of about 4 billion zloty ($1.4 billion) in 2009, a sum most of the council’s members want to increase to 8 billion by reducing the size of reserves allocated to steering the zloty.

“I don’t see any reason to change the profit, especially given that the profit report was sealed by an auditor and attempts to change it were criticized by European Union,” Glapinski said.

The bank’s management, which isn’t appointed by the government, has to send a profit report to Prime Minister Donald Tusk by the end of this month. The report must be approved by the Monetary Policy Council.

The government’s budget “can do without additional billions of zloty,” while “the central bank’s independence is crucial for the whole country’s reputation in the eyes of foreign investors,” Glapinski said.

Governor Slawomir Skrzypek, who was killed in a plane crash on April 10, had asked the European Central Bank to provide an opinion on how the bank’s profits should be handled. Skrzypek had said the bank’s management board “doesn’t accept the new rules because they aren’t valid.”

The amended rules, approved by the Monetary Policy Council on March 31, change the way the central bank creates and releases provisions for foreign-exchange risk. The main change requires the central bank’s management board to include unrealized gains when calculating net income.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dorota Bartyzel in Warsaw at dbartyzel@bloomberg.net

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