The more independent the BC, the less the country pays interest costs, says Campos Neto

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The more independent the BC, the less the country pays interest costs, says Campos Neto

The president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, defended this Tuesday (7th) the institution’s autonomy and argued that independence results in a better cost-benefit ratio for the country’s interest rate policy.

According to the head of the autarchy, the disconnection of the monetary policy cycle with the political cycle is one of the main gains of formal autonomy, approved by law in 2021 and questioned by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT).

“[A independência] it is very important for many different reasons. The main reason, in the case of the Central Bank’s autonomy, is to disconnect the monetary policy cycle from the political cycle because they have different lenses and different interests”, said Campos Neto at an event in Miami, in the United States.

“The more independent you are, the more effective you are, the less the country will pay in terms of the cost-benefit of monetary policy.”

Last Wednesday (1st), the BC maintained the basic interest rate at 13.75% per annum for the fourth consecutive time, in the first meeting since Lula took office.

The PT has complained about high interest rates in the country and attacked the BC president, whom he called “that citizen” last week. Campos Neto was nominated by former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

Complaints from a wing of the government extend to linking the head of BC with Bolsonarism. The criticisms were accentuated after an image captured by the photographer of the Sheet Gabriela Biló, on January 10, showing that Campos Neto was still a member of a WhatsApp group called “Ministers of Bolsonaro”.

The BC’s formal autonomy has already been targeted by Lula on several occasions. Weeks earlier, the president said he doubted that Campos Neto was more independent than Henrique Meirelles in his previous terms, between 2003 and 2010.

On February 2, a day after the Central Bank raised the tone of warnings about fiscal risks in the Copom communiqué, Lula said that he could review the autonomy of the monetary authority after 2024, when Campos Neto’s term ends.

“I want to know what independence was for. I will wait for this citizen [Roberto Campos Neto] end his term for us to make an assessment of what the independent BC meant”, said Lula in an interview with RedeTV!.

At the event in the USA, the president of BC linked the importance of the institution’s autonomy to the agency’s innovation agenda, which includes the creation of Pix – an instant payment system – and open finance – an ecosystem that allows the sharing of personal and banking data. and financial transactions between institutions, subject to authorization.

To exemplify the construction process of the autarchy’s technological agenda, Campos Neto addressed directly to Ilan Goldfajn, former BC president and current president of the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), who was in the audience at the event.

“Ilan is here, he started a great work, talking about innovation. Then I got there, the pressure was very great, because he did a wonderful job and I thought, how can I improve what was done”, he said.

“A problem we have is always criticizing the legacy. We need to understand that, when we get to a job, we need to look at what can be improved on what has already been done”, he added.


UNDERSTAND: AUTONOMY OF THE CENTRAL BANK

  1. What is Central Bank autonomy?

    The rule disassociated the BC from the Ministry of Economy and made it an autarchy of a special nature. The main change was the creation of fixed terms of four years, with the possibility of reappointment, which distances the body from political influence.

  2. When was the BC autonomy law passed and why?

    With the aim of shielding the institution from government interference and creating fixed mandates, the bill was approved in 2021 and then sanctioned by then-president Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

  3. Can board members be fired?

    They can leave office when they perform insufficiently to achieve the BC’s objectives, with a decision by the President of the Republic and the approval of the Senate in a secret ballot being necessary. They may also be exonerated at their request or if they contract a disease that makes it impossible for them to perform their duties. In addition, they may be dismissed if convicted, by means of a final and unappealable decision or issued by a collegiate body, for the practice of administrative impropriety or a crime whose penalty temporarily prohibits access to public office.

  4. How was the first term defined fixed?

    The president and two directors will have terms until December 31, 2024, and the others will end their periods in a staggered manner. Two of them have already ended their term on December 31, 2021. The next two end on February 28, 2023; and two others, on December 31, 2023.

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