21 July 2009 While Gill Marcus will be taking over the reins at the South African Reserve Bank at a challenging time, analysts are confident that the country’s central bank will be in good hands. On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma appointed Marcus to take over from Tito Mboweni as Reserve Bank governor on 9 November. Among the questions now being asked is whether the Bank will adopt a new approach to monetary policy under Marcus – and, in particular, whether it will shift from the inflation-targeting framework it has followed for the past decade. In 1999, South Africa adopted an inflation-targeting monetary policy framework that targeted the county’s inflation rate directly; a departure from the previous “eclectic” policy approach in which intermediate objectives still played a prominent role. Taking over from Chris Stals in 1999, Mboweni, the first black governor of the Reserve Bank, had to oversee this process, and was at times required to make unpopular decisions. While he has not been the darling of South Africa’s trade unions, Mboweni has been praised for ensuring stability in the country’s financial sector during his 10-year tenure. Econometrix economist Tony Twine does not expect a significant shift away from inflation-targeting under Marcus, although he does believe there could be “changes in emphasis”. The Reserve Bank’s mandate remained the same, irrespective of who occupied the position of governor, Twine told BuaNews. Mbweni would be missed, Twine said, although the country’s financial markets seemed to be “relaxed and highly positive” following the announcement of his departure. The reason for this, he said, was that the markets “anticipate working fairly well with Marcus … She is an engaging person; you can talk to her anytime and she always listens.” As a former deputy finance minister, a former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, and current chairwoman of Absa, one of the biggest banks on the continent, Marcus is no stranger to the markets. She also has political know-how required for the job, having played a crucial role in South Africa’s liberation as an active member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) during the 1980s. She also has all the support she needs as she takes over one of the toughest jobs in the country. “It is really such an important time in the world for us to have organisational cohesion, and to work together in terms of what we need to do in the interests of the country,” Marcus said following the announcement of her appointment on Sunday. “I hope the style of leadership that I bring to the Reserve Bank is the style of leadership that I have exercised wherever I am and have been, and that is one of engagement.” Marcus said that, in her early days in the job, she aimed to listen and to learn and to see where the Reserve Bank was at this point in time. She did not expect her appointment to change her way of leading people, “and if it does I am sure there are enough people to pull me back to earth.” SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Neren Rau said that, under Marcus, business was “assured of prudent implementation of monetary policy and an openness to engage with economic stakeholders.” Rau saluted Mboweni for the contribution he had made over a decade at the helm of the Reserve Bank, saying he would be remembered “for the consultative manner in which he implemented monetary policy, and for making monetary policy accessible.” Source: BuaNews
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly doesn’t believe in picking favourites but is sure the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team has the wherewithal to challenge any country in all three formats of cricket. He feels the next month’s World T20 tournament will be no different.Ex-India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, too, feels India is a “bloody good side”, but he also pointed out that at least six teams are capable of winning the title as the T20 format provides more scope to lesser teams to excel. “There’ll be surprises,” he predicted.They expressed their opinions on a variety of issues – from the inclusion of spinners Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla to the comeback of left-hander Yuvraj Singh – at a press meet where the T20 World Cup trophy was also displayed here on Tuesday.”India will always have [good] chances in any format. They have got the team to win the title,” Ganguly pointed out. “India have match winners like Dhoni, Kohli, Gambhir and Sehwag, who can clear the boundary at will.”India are clubbed with England and Afghanistan in Group A, and after the league phase two teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, called Super Eights, in the tournament that runs from September 18-October 7.Manjrekar termed India as a “bloody good” team, but predicted that surprises were in store. “Five or six teams are likely to win it,” he said. “In T20 format, weaker teams have a better chance of beating stronger teams. There’s a lot at stake, and we’ve got to be at our best from the start.” He felt that the short duration of the tournament also makes it more competitive.advertisementHarbhajan, 32, makes a comeback to the national team after disastrous tours of the West Indies and England last year. Though his poor form continued at the start of his stint with Sussex in the English county competitions, he has lately shown signs of returning to form.The Punjab slow bowler has direct competition with the preferred offie R Ashwin – who plays for the Chennai Super Kings, led by India captain Dhoni – if not so much from leg-spinner Chawla.Ganguly, who backed Harbhajan wholeheartedly during his captaincy, said that even today he is among the top three off-spinners in India.”You can call it my bias or love for Harbhajan but if you are picking three best spinners in the country, he’s got to be among them. Harbhajan is one bowler who should be playing all three formats of the game.”Ganguly said that the K Srikkanth-headed selection committee should have kept Harbhajan out of the team for a maximum of six months.”I still believe one year was a bit too long time to keep Harbhajan out of the Indian team. The board should have spoken to him and told him that ‘look we are giving you six months’ time to sort out your bowling’,” he felt. “You can’t keep a bowler like him in domestic cricket for too long. If you have played for the country for 12 years, you are bound to have one bad season. But he has got [nearly] 700 international wickets, which is no mean feat.”It, however, remains to be seen if Dhoni picks Harbhajan ahead of Ashwin.Yuvraj is back after recovering from cancer and Ganguly said that an indication of his match fitness could be ascertained in the upcoming T20 Internationals against New Zealand at home. “Personally, I’ll not say that I’m not worried about his health,” he said.