The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Mario Vella named governor of Central Bank of Malta - PN calls for parliamentary scrutiny

Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 16:16 Last update: about 9 years ago

The Prime Minister has advised the President of Malta to appoint Dr Mario Vella as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Malta with effect from 1 July, the government said in a statement.

He relinquishes the post of executive chairman at Malta Enterprise to take over the new role.

Alfred Mifsud had been touted for the job a few weeks ago but after allegations of bribery were levelled against him by his former partner Anna Zelbst, he asked the PM not to consider him for the post. Mr Mifsud has taken legal action to defend himself against the allegations made.

The nomination of Dr Vella comes in spite of three ministers - Louis Grech, Evarist Bartolo and Edward Scicluna - pushing for the nomination of Rene Saliba.

In a reaction, the Nationalist Party asked for scrutiny by a parliamentary committee to ensure that Dr Vella has the necessary qualifications in the financial and monetary fields and the experience necessary to manage a national institution such as the Central Bank.

In a statement, the government said Dr Vella studied at the universities of Malta, London (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Berlin (Humboldt).  His core professional and academic interests for over thirty-five years have been focussed on economic development and foreign direct investment.

Amongst his previous appointments Dr Vella was Executive Chairman of Malta Enterprise, director of Foreign Direct Investment services at Grant Thornton and Chief Executive at the Malta Development Corporation.  He was visiting professor at Edinburgh Napier University between 2007 and 2012.  In 2005 he was visiting lecturer at the Graduate School of Economics and International relations of the Università Cattolica in Milan and the Università di Urbino. He has been visiting senior lecturer at the University of Malta for many years. Dr Vella was also President of the Labour Party during the mid-nineties.

Earlier this year he was honoured with Italy’s Ordine al Merito.

The Prime Minister thanked Prof Josef Bonnici for his valuable contribution during his term as Governor of the Central Bank of Malta.  He said that Prof Bonnici had served the country in an excellent manner in this role and in his previous roles as Member of the Court of Auditors and as a Minister.  He augured that Prof Bonnici will be able to continue serving the country in the future.

The Prime Minister also expressed his best wishes to Dr Vella in his new role.

In its reaction, the Nationalist Party pointed out that Dr Vella is a past president of the Labour Party. Instead of putting the national interest in the forefront of considerations, the prime minister has once again chosen the partisan interest.

The Governor of the Central Bank must be independent from the government so that if occasion warrantsit, he can criticise the government to bring about necessary changes and so that the country gets checks and balances in the economic and fiscal fields.

The Opposition has long been saying such a post should get two-thirds majority in Parliament or at least that the chosen person is scrutinised by a parliamentary committee. The government has done nothing of the sort.

The Opposityion is convinced that there could be bipartisan support for the nomination of Rene Saliba who has spent long years working at the Central Bank and whose appointment as chairman of the Fiscal Council was supported by the Opposition.



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