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Treasury boss mooted for Brics Bank

Aug 13 2017 06:03
Justin Brown

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will nominate a National Treasury official to head the African Regional Centre (ARC) of the New Development Bank (NDB), better known as the Brics Bank.

President Jacob Zuma will launch the regional centre on Thursday in Sandton in Johannesburg.

Gigaba was eyeing Tumisang Moleke, chief director of Treasury’s public-private partnership (PPP) unit, to head up the centre, sources close to Treasury told City Press.

The announcement will be made this week.

Zuma claimed that he had nominated former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene for the ARC head job when Zuma fired him in December 2015.

However, it is clear this was never the case.

According to Moleke’s LinkedIn profile, he has been employed at National Treasury since 2005, when he started as a senior project adviser.

He has headed the PPP unit since November 2010.

Among those set to attend Thursday’s launch event are NDB president Kundapur Vaman Kamath, as well as Cabinet ministers such as Gigaba and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The bank’s ARC offices will be located at 135 Daisy Street in Sandton.

Nelson Kgwete, a spokesperson for the international relations department, said the ARC would have a “fully fledged office”.

Gigaba’s spokeperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, said Gigaba would nominate a National Treasury official to head the ARC at the launch event.

A strategy document on the NDB’s website maps out plans for the bank until 2021.

It cites the main functions of the bank’s regional offices as identifying and preparing bankable projects in the countries making up Brics – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“The first regional office is being established in Johannesburg,” it states.

“Subsequent regional offices will be established as needs be in Brazil, Russia and India. The second regional office will be in Brazil.”

Brics countries signed the agreement establishing the NDB at the Brics summit of July 2014 held in Brazil.

The bank’s headquarters were opened in Shanghai in China in February last year.

Since inception, the NDB has lent $1.559 billion (R21 billion) to its member countries.

And, according to the strategy document, the bank is forecasting that its cumulative loan approvals will increase by as much as $44.5 billion by 2021, when its outstanding loan portfolio is set to total $18.9 billion.

The bank was set up with authorised capital of $100 billion and an initial subscribed capital of $50 billion.

The strategy document outlines the NDB’s key areas of operation as being in the sectors of clean energy, transport infrastructure, irrigation, water resource management and sanitation, and urban development, as well as economic cooperation and integration.

It says NDB’s staff count will rise from its current tally of 150 to 400 by 2021.

In another development, former SA Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni announced the following in a Facebook post this week:

“I was ‘removed’ by the South African government as a nonexecutive director of the Brics Bank last week.

"They have their own logic and reasons for doing that. I served for two years and at the time of my appointment, I was told, via a letter from [then finance minister] Nhlanhla Nene, that the term was a renewable one. But alas, this has not been the case.

“Fired, you might say! It’s okay. They are the government of the day, after all. They can do as they wish.”

Tshwete said Mboweni’s tenure on the Brics Bank board started on July 3 2015 and ended on July 2 2017.

National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane would be South Africa’s representative on the Brics Bank board, he added.

Deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi has been appointed as an alternate NDB governor.

Monale Ratsoma, a National Treasury deputy director-general, would be the alternate NDB director. 

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