Bill submitted to raise salaries at MNB, allow more discretion

Initiatives

MNB headquarters in Budapest (Image by Jessica Fejos)

A bill submitted to Parliament yesterday by an MP of governing Fidesz would raise the pay of top officials at the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) and give the central bank discretion to withhold private information on companies it owns, Hungarian news agency MTI reported yesterday.

The bill, submitted by Fidesz MP Erik Bánki, would raise the monthly salary of the MNBʼs governor to a fixed HUF 5 million. At present, the governorʼs salary is capped at ten times the average monthly wage of about HUF 250,000. 

It would set the salary of the deputy governors at 90% of the governorʼs, and the members of the policy-making Monetary Council at 60%. 

The bill would give the MNB the legal power to decide not to disclose information to the public on companies that support its activities, if it judges that defending the interests of its monetary or foreign exchange policy outweighs that of the publicʼs right to information on publicly-funded institutions. 

The bill would also allow foundations established by the MNB to be turned over to their curators, resulting in a separation sufficient to classify the foundations as being outside the sphere of “public funding” thereby reducing public scrutiny. 

The Parliamentʼs economic committee cleared the bill on Monday for general debate with a vote of ten in favor from the governing alliance and three against the bill from opposition parties. 

In a statement published on its website late Monday, the MNB said the salaries of its top executives would change “in line with central bank practices in the European Union”. Salaries under the planned wage schedule will still be lower than those of the management at commercial banks and “well under” the salaries of the MNBʼs former management, it added. 

The salary of the central bank governor would be level with that of his Czech counterpart but lower than that of the governor of the Slovakian central bank, the MNB said. 

“The amendment of the central bank act continues to ensure the oversight of the central bankʼs transparent operation, thus the MNB will remain among institutions with the strictest oversight,” it added. 

According to the MNB, disclosure rules for MNB foundations will approach standards used for other foundations. The main data relevant to MNB foundations will still be available in public registers and the foundations will disclose all of the most significant operational information on their websites. 

The MNB will continue to fulfill all of its information disclosure obligations and provide information from Parliamentʼs economic committee to the public, to its supervisory broad, to its internal management directorate and to the State Audit Office (ÁSZ), the central bank said.

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