Nationalisation talk is risky at time of fragile economic situation: SARB

21 December 2017 - 15:29 By Timeslive

The South African Reserve Bank is concerned about the ANC's instruction to government to begin the process of nationalising the Sarb‚ which would see government owning 100% of the bank’s shares instead of the current arrangement where these are held by a number of private shareholders.

"The process of changing the ownership structure of the SARB at this point in time could raise the level of risk and uncertainty for the country in both a financial and economic policy sense. This heightened exposure to risk is unwarranted given the country's fragile economic situation‚" Sarb said in a statement on Thursday.

The SARB stated that it functions in the public interest; private shareholders have no influence whatsoever on monetary policy‚ financial stability‚ or banking regulation.

"Policy making and execution is the preserve of the Governor and the Deputy Governors‚ who are appointed by the President.

"The rights of the private shareholders are highly circumscribed. A shareholder‚ and his or her associates‚ cannot hold more than 10‚000 shares out of the total of 2-million shares in issue. According to the SARB Act‚ shareholders receive a fixed annual dividend of 10c per share‚ making the total dividend payout each year R200‚000.

"Nationalising the Sarb would also be expensive as its shares currently trade for much less than the price at which some existing shareholders are willing to sell their shares‚" the bank said.

The "buying-out" of existing shareholders will therefore result in paying large sums of money to effect cosmetic changes that will have no bearing on the manner in which the Sarb carries out its mandate or executes its policy responsibilities."