Central Bank Salaries Higher Than President's

KIEV, Ukraine -- As more allegations of possible impropriety at the National Bank of Ukraine surface, lawmakers and others are also taking a closer look at the salaries and extravagant lifestyles of the central bank’s top management.

Lawmakers are taking a closer look at the earnings of National Bank’s top managers. Some of them earn four times as much as the president.

On Sept. 17, parliament vice chair Mykola Tomenko filed an official inquiry asking the NBU to reveal recent salary increases given to top management.

Two days earlier, leading Ukrainian news portal www.pravda.com.ua reported that NBU Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh and his first deputy, Anatoliy Shapovolov, had taken home more than $187,000, including $150,000 in salary and other compensation last year. If accurate, then Stelmakh’s income is about three times higher than what Ukraine’s president earns.

Tomenko asked the NBU supervisory council to check if salaries have been doubled for the central bank’s top executives and, if so, to explain why. He cited press reports alleging that Stelmakh, a presidential ally, had received upwards of $57,000 during the first three months of 2009, including $55,000 in salary and $1,500 in perks. The reports suggest Stelmakh received a sizable increase on a $36,000 salary received during the first quarter of 2008.

Stelmakh has neither confirmed nor denied these reports. Meanwhile, Shapovalov refused to divulge his official salary, citing privacy laws.

“I am not a public person, and there are no grounds to publish the information because I do not give my consent,” Shapovalov said, delivering more ammunition to critics’ complaints that the central bank is secretive and non-transparent.

However, Shapovalov said that salaries for NBU board members – which he would not disclose – were cut 8 percent in 2009 in connection with Ukraine’s precarious financial predicament.

NBU spokesman Serhiy Kruglyk told the Kyiv Post on Sept. 16 that the base salary for NBU board members is $1,687 monthly. Kruglyk said supplementary payments to board members, including bonuses, are calculated based on civil service rank and seniority, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.

Vasyl Horbal, a parliament lawmaker and member of the opposition Party of Regions faction, is neither concerned nor surprised by the amounts that NBU board members are reportedly earning.

“The salary of the board chairman of a commercial bank can easily reach $15,000 a month,” said Horbal, who is a banker and member of the NBU’s supervisory council.

“The NBU needs to retain professional staff and prevent commercial banks from draining away talent. And the salaries of bank specialists are calculated on the basis how much bank board members are paid,” Horbal said.

Source: Kyiv Post