Twenty years ago, 11 August 1997, BiH Central Bank (CBBH) begun to operate in the fiscal system of the state with responsibilities defined by Law on Central Bank, which the state Parliament had adopted two months earlier.
On Friday, BiH Central Bank marked this anniversary with a celebration named “20 years of stability” which was attended by highest political and financial authorities in the state level, including representatives of international community. CBBH Governor Senad Softic said at the ceremony that the anniversary was a good opportunity to meet and exchange experiences with colleagues from the countries in region about the accession to the European Union and the role of central banks on that way.
“The focus is still the EU, and the experience of the states of the region, especially those already in the EU, are very significant. CBBH responded timely to the European Commission Questionnaire and will help other institutions, in relation to the economic sector, to provide quality answers to make the BiH road to EU easier”, Softic said.
International Community High Representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, visited the CBBH on this occasion and used the opportunity to congratulate Governor Softic and previous Governors, current and former members of the Central Bank Governing Council and all employees of the Bank on achieving and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism.
“In 1996, the OHR, as the guarantor of the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, led the effort to establish an institution of the Peace Agreement – the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina – which laid the ground for what has become the cornerstone of BiH monetary and financial sector stability as well as the country’s post-war recovery and development. Today, the Central Bank continues to be a guarantor of stability and development in BiH and a model of a professional, independent and trustworthy institution. I am proud that the OHR has been a part of this true success story”, Inzko said.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative to BiH, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said at the conference that this institution is one of the success stories in BiH.
“Never is everything perfect, but the Central Bank shows success regardless of the challenges, including the financial crisis of 2008”, Wigemark said, adding that the policy should be removed far from macroeconomic policies.
He stressed that there is a link between policy and macroeconomy, but it should be limited to those who understand it. He also stressed the importance of the EU for BiH, as well as for the entire Western Balkans.
“The 200 BAM banknote has a picture of the bridge. I think it is the bridge which leads BiH to the EU. For EU, stable Currency Board and central bank independence do not have an alternative”, Wigemark pointed out.
BiH Council of Ministers Chairman, Denis Zvizdic, said in his address to participants of the celebration that CBBH is one of the most powerful institutions in the country, enjoys a high reputation and represents a pillar of monetary stability.
“Let me draw your attention to the name of this conference. “20 years of stability”. Exactly. In a complex political environment, the CBBH managed to preserve and maintain stability all these years”, Zvizdic said.
He recalled that the this financial institution was established on August 11, 1997 and that, at the beginning of its work, it had the exceptional support of the IMF. Also, an important part of the work in early days was the introduction of international standards and the development of key functions of central banking.
Zvizdic said that, in the EU integration process of BiH, the role of the Central Bank is very important, because a stable and reliable central bank provides a key contribution to macroeconomic stability, improves the process of economic transition and convergence towards a market economy and contributes to the overall better preparedness of the country for EU membership.
He added that the tasks and role of the CBBH are closely linked to the EU integration phase in which BiH is at this moment./ΙΒΝΑ