Accusations without foundation

Published: 24/10/2000

Stirred by the article "Svaka deseta tvrtka placala je mito Saboru, HNB, Predsjedniku i sucima" published in "Jutarnji list" on October 21, 2000 and astonished with the lines stating that "30 percent of enterprises (almost every third enterprise) faced the Croatian National Bank capture", the Croatian National Bank acquired and studied the integral version of the document quoted as the source of these information. The review showed the following:

  1. The aforementioned interpretation of the part of the original text referring to the Croatian central bank is both incorrect and inappropriate. It can be seen from the original document that, in relation to central banks, the enterprises were not asked about "the purchase of services", but to assess "the extent to which Central Bank mishandling of funds" had a direct impact on their business. "Central bank mishandling of funds" can be translated into Croatian as loše/pogrešno/neprimjereno postupanje fondovima od strane središnje banke. Since it is completely unclear to what that statement precisely refers, it seems appropriate to raise the following question: What kind of answers the interviewers could have gotten from businessmen in different countries and under different circumstances? That the central bank is wrongly conducting monetary policy? That the central bank is inadequately managing international reserves? That the central bank does not have good regulatory framework and banking supervision? In any case, it is clear that neither the question nor possible answers to it do not refer to "bribing" of central bank officers. Thus, we can only ask ourselves what is the purpose of relating such serious allegations to the Croatian National Bank.
  2. The author of the aforementioned article might believe that sufficient foundation for the accusations can be found in Table 2. of the aforementioned document entitled "Measuring the Capture Economy (% of firms affected by "purchase of ..."), where one column refers to central banks. However, we have to emphasize that there is also an explanation preceding the Table showing that the indicator in the table refers to "mishandling of Central bank funds". Thus, it is obvious that neither here exists a foundation for the assertion that "30 percent of enterprises in Croatia faced Croatian National Bank capture", as it is being presented to the Croatian public.
  3. Taking into consideration the vagueness of survey results and all possible remarks, the Croatian National Bank does in no way neither underestimate the published research, nor tries to find comfort in possible inverse interpretation of the research findings suggesting that 70 percent of surveyed enterprises had no significant remarks about central bank operation, or in the fact that the survey was conducted in summer 1999, thus during the period when effects of the banking crisis were still fresh - the crisis that resulted in a number of banks and savings banks closed, with many bankers and entrepreneurs accusing the central bank also for consequences of their own failed decisions and wrong choices. The Croatian National Bank is also not comforting itself with the supposition that, if the survey had been conducted in a different period, the assessment of central bank operation would have been more favorable. We would like to emphasize that the Croatian National Bank is ready to accept critical assessments of its work, but expects at least a minimum correctness in reporting data and estimates related to its operation.