The current trend in the World Economy warrants resolute and astute finance ministers. Any country’s future is dependent on its economic and financial strategies. Who makes them? The finance minister, of course! No economy can actually survive in the absence of a smart thinking finance minister. Who were some of the best finance ministers of the world? Let’s find out.
10. Pranab Mukherjee:
His first stint as Finance Minister of India was in the year 1982 during the Indira Gandhi Government and the last being with the UPA Government at the Centre prior to his being elected to India’s Presidency. The current President of India and former finance minister is known to have placed more money in the hands of consumers by scaling down income tax rates and cutting excise duties. He is also credited to have ensured that factories could keep up production. But perhaps his best work as finance minister was routing the Indian economy during recession at a time when the western economies had collapsed.
(img source: businessreviewindia.in)
9. George Osborne:
George Osborne is the current incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer of United Kingdom which is equivalent to the post of finance minster in the country. He holds one of the most powerful and coveted offices in the United Kingdom which is second only to that of the Prime Minister’s. He is known for setting up the Office of Budget Responsibility and ordering a government-wide spending review to set limits on departmental spending until 2014–15. Unflinching austerity measures taken by the United Kingdom as of now are credited to him.
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8. Jim Flaherty:
Jim Flaherty is the present Finance Minister of Canada. He is known for his meticulous management of the financial affairs of the country during some of the most difficult times of recession in the year 2009. Flaherty is credited to the development of the Advantage Canada plan the main aim of which was to put tax reductions and deficit elimination on the top of the government’s priorities. The fact that it was adhered to while most of the developed world was undergoing the one of the worst financial crisis in history undoubtedly makes him one of the best finance ministers of all time.
(img source: telegraph.co.uk)
7. C. D. Deshmukh:
Sir Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh served as the Finance Minister of India from 1950 to 1956. It was the time of rebuilding the country from scratch and hence the steps taken by the finance minister was imperative to provide the thrust for development to begin in newly born India. He took steps to spur growth and doubled the deficit in almost a year to achieve the same. His tackling of the falling prices was one of the key budget decisions to be taken for the Indian economy.
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6. Maria Fekter:
Maria Fekter is the current Austrian Minister of Finance. She assumed office in the year 2011 and has been aggressively working to accelerate economic recovery along with promoting new and young entrepreneurs. Due to her experience as an entrepreneur in her parent’s business, Maria recognizes the importance of investment friendly climate and could be touted as a new age finance minister working according to the changing economic trends.
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5. Manmohan Singh:
He may not go down as a great prime minister but in 1991, when he assumed office as finance minister in P.V. Narasimha Rao’s Government, he brought in reforms that liberalized India’s economy the results of which are visible in India’s economic rise. India’s economy was at doldrums when he assumed office. Fiscal deficit was close to 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product, the balance of payments deficit was huge and the current account deficit was close to 3.5 percent of India’s GDP. In short, India was in an economic crisis. It was then that he slowly opened the Indian economy to foreign investment and business competition leading to its revival.
(img source: telegraph.co.uk)
4. P. Chidambaram:
When P. Chidambaram was the finance minister in the year 1997, the Indian Economy was at one of its most prosperous phases. He opened up the economy further in the year when growth had averaged 7 percent for the three previous years. The most notable step taken by him was the lowering of the maximum income tax rate by 10 percentage points to 30 percent, a level that continues till date. It was his budget that further catapulted foreign investment in the country.
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3. Christine Lagarde:
Christine Lagarde is currently the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She had also held the post of Minister of Finance for France and was named by Financial Times as the best in the Eurozone. She was the first woman to be in charge of economic policy in France. As the finance minister of one of Europe’s most powerful economies, she was at the forefront of efforts to contain the European debt crisis. She backed Germany’s demand that countries in need of help adopt steep cuts in spending.
(img source: telegraph.co.uk)
2. Ivan Mikloš:
He is the incumbent Finance Minister of Slovakia since 2010. During his earlier stint as finance minister from the year 2002 up to 2006 he was named the top business reformer by World Bank’s Doing Business report and prior to that he was also the Deputy Prime Minister for Economy between 1998 and 2002. It was due to his efforts that Slovakia jumped to 32nd place in a list of 178 economies on the ease of doing business index.
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1. Andrés Velasco:
Andrés Velasco, an economist and professor from Chile, served as the finance minister of the country from March 2006 to March 2010. During his term, the price of Copper, which Chile has in abundance, reached all-time highs and there was pressure from all corners to spend the windfall. But he was resolute and instead decided to hold it in reserves which was equivalent to 30 percent of the country’s GDP. When the Financial Crisis hit from 2007 to 2010; these reserves were used for stimulus spending for subsidies and tax cuts saving the country. Undoubtedly thus he is on top of the best finance ministers of all time.
(img source: bsg.ox.ac.uk)