In his first Parliament speech without the PN leadership mantle, Adrian Delia warned of the danger BOV’s consistent problems with US correspondent banks could pose to Maltese society.
“BOV has over 20,000 individual shareholders, whose destiny is linked to that of the bank, not to mention loanees and depositors,” he said.
“If BOC loses its ability to provide correspondent banking in US dollars, that will mean everyone who conducts business through dollars won’t be able to conduct their business with it.”
“We’re talking about businesses such as those in the fuel industry and those who import fruit and vegetables from countries where payments must be carried out in dollars. Without a US correspondent bank, business can’t be carried out at BOV through US dollars, the predominant currency in global trade.”
Last week, BOV announced that Raiffeisen Bank International, an Austrian bank, is seeking to terminate its USD correspondence relationship with BOV as of the end of next March.
This means BOV will be left without a single US correspondent bank, a similar problem as the one it found itself in last December, when Dutch bank ING terminated its USD correspondence relationship with the Maltese bank.
As for Delia, the rest of his speech focused on a Bill which will shift the power to appoint the Central Bank governor, MFSA head and Data Protection Commissioner from the Prime Minister to his Cabinet.
The former PN leader warned that this won’t guarantee the independence of these institutions because the Prime Minister “controls” his Cabinet in Malta’s system of governance.
He added that the root of the problem isn’t whether the Prime Minister or Cabinet should appoint these people but whether they are capable of withstanding government pressure.
“The real issue is whether the people they choose are capable of doing their job and won’t just be puppets who change their mind when you pull their strings,” he said.
“We must change this attitude and mentality; holders of crucial posts should primarily owe their loyalty to the Constitution and regular citizens, and not to the people who appoint them.”
New PN leader Bernard Grech has said he wants to offer Delia a role in his Shadow Cabinet and Delia has urged his successor to give him a tough challenge he can sink his teeth into.
Does this speech indicate he will shadow a finance-related portfolio?