Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Poland drops 'Fort Knox' plan

Poland's central bank dropped its plan to build a local version of the famed Fort Knox gold depository and recently again put up for sale the Twierdza Zegrze (Fort Zegrze it bought a few years back with a bold plan to build a vault and a data centre in a 19th century fortress. Anyone see the problem?

It turns out that although the general idea was perfect, there were some minor issues. For example, heavy duty equipment could not enter the terrain to carry out the necessary work. Moreover, the Polish version of Fort Knox has been unused for many years and thus was in a much worse shape than hoped, making necessary renovation potentially much more extensive and expensive. The price tag to turn the Twierdza into a real Fort was put by potential developers at some 500 million zlotys, three times the planned budget.

Maintaining the fort not only costs the bank cash (0.37 million a year according to the weekly Polityka) for something that is totally useless, but it also made the bank a target for attacks by various history fanatics, who went as far as calling the anti-corruption bureau CBA.

If you are curious about who is responsible for this ego folly, let me give you a hint. The next time you see Leszek Balcerowicz talk about how to save the global economy, world and even entire galaxy, do remember that NO ONE is faultless.

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