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Government puts forward plans for using excess gold

The Swiss government has ruled out using excess gold reserves from the National Bank to reduce the country's debt. A spokesman said the cabinet had other plans for the proceeds from the sale of 1,300 tonnes of gold, which parliament approved last year.

This content was published on January 20, 2000 - 13:20

The Swiss government has ruled out using excess gold reserves from the National Bank to reduce the country's debt. A spokesman said the cabinet had other plans for the proceeds from the sale of 1,300 tonnes of gold, which parliament approved last year.

The gold is no longer considered necessary for the bank to achieve its goal of monetary stability.

The government spokesman, vice-chancellor Achille Casanova, said the cabinet wanted to use 500 tonnes of gold for the Solidarity Foundation, a fund for the needy at home and abroad which it proposed creating in 1996. The remaining 800 tonnes would go towards financing the old age pension scheme and a campaign to increase computer literacy.

At today's prices, the gold would fetch about SFr17 billion. The government said it was in favour of using the interest generated by the money, rather than the capital, to fund the projects.

The proposals are at an early stage yet. The finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, is to hold talks on the plans with cantonal finance directors, before drawing up more concrete proposals for approval by the cabinet. These will then be distributed for consultation to all parties and organisations concerned.

From staff and wire reports

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