And the World's Best Finance Minister is...

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/14/2012 06:22:00 AM
Cesar Purisima of the Philippines for 2012 according to Euromoney. It just goes to show you how far the United States has fallen in the opinion of those in the know that an American has not won this award since Bob Rubin back in 1996 (before being tarnished by all that Citi stuff during the global financial crisis). Nowadays, of course, being US Treasury Secretary doesn't involve much more than writing $1,000,000,000,000+ worth of IOUs year in and year out. However, the rest of the world (surprise!) doesn't think that prudent macroeconomic management involves such shameful behaviour.

Appropriately enough, this award is usually given at the World Bank / IMF meetings, this year famously held in Tokyo, Japan.
Cesar V. Purisima has been named “2012 Finance Minister of the Year” by leading global banking and finance magazine Euromoney for his “careful and successful stewardship” of the Philippine economy, and for his initiatives in promoting capital markets, both in the Philippines and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Euromoney is the flagship publication of business and financial publisher Euromoney Institutional Investor. It has been selecting a “Finance Minister of the Year” over the past 30 years to coincide with the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (WB/IMF) Annual Meeting. Selection is based on three factors: Opinions of a committee of Euromoney editors, views of world’s leading bankers, and analysis of over 400 global economist-contributors.

Secretary Purisima, who received the award during the week-long WB/IMF Meeting in Tokyo, which started October 11, 2012, said it is a recognition of the Philippines’ economic gains under the Aquino Administration. “This is a testament to how far the Philippine economic story has turned around under the leadership of President Aquino. The President’s unwavering commitment to good governance has brought significant gains to the Philippine economy,” he said. In 2011, Secretary Purisima was also named Finance Minister of the Year by the London-based financial news source, “Emerging Markets,” comprised of current financial news on emerging market trends and analysis in capital markets.
The unique thing with him is that while mainstream economists like Simon Johnson--one time head of research at IMF--now fault the United States for massive amounts of corruption via a "Wall Street Takeover," Purisima has chosen good governance and anti-corruption as important things to pursue. Given the Philippines' endemic culture of corruption, it will be an uphill battle for him, but it does make sense if you think of it even if "corruption fighter" is not usually one of the roles a finance minister usually takes: Would the US be bailing out banks to the tune of trillions of dollars of, ah, "stimulating" free money policies if they weren't so entrenched?
He said that the administration has laid the groundwork so that confidence would improve and investments would come in. Purisima said that unlike in previous administrations, the Aquino administration can boast of “honest, transparent and accountable leadership.” Furthermore, he said that the government would continue to improve the business climate, level the playing field, put in place predictable rules and implement a strong anti-corruption drive.

The government, Purisima said, has been doing this. “We are now starting to ignite private sector interest,” he said. He also said that there is now more fiscal space because of the administration’s anti-corruption drive. Every week, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) alternates in filing before the Department of Justice (DOJ) cases against smugglers and tax evaders.