Current situation at home and abroad
President accepts reports from Prime Minister and State Security Committee Chairman
On meeting the PM, the President discussed the building of more accommodation for those not receiving state support; this year, a further 6.5 million square metres of housing are scheduled for construction. Of this, 2.5 million square metres are to be set aside for those receiving state support (being on low incomes and having large families). Budgetary funds have been allocated to engineering infrastructure and banks’ mortgage rates are to be set at a more modest level, to aid people in buying their own home.
Belarusbank ASB JSC, Belagroprombank JSC and Belinvestbank JSC are charging a modest 16 percent annual rate on mortgages, with a rate of 14 percent for rural residents and 12 percent for families with many children. Large families enjoy various state privileges, including access to accommodation, but, as Mikhail Myasnikovich notes, they need to contribute their own money to buy their own home. He emphasises, “This is a rather serious decision which we’ve made jointly with banks and the National Bank, making mortgages more accessible to citizens and companies.” The Government plans to keep inflation at 12 percent in 2013.
Issues relating to the Single Economic Space came under scrutiny, with the PM stressing, “We are anxious that our SES partners are taking narrow-minded decisions which may be to the detriment of our common market.” The Supreme State Council of the Union State, which meets in St. Petersburg on March 15th, will continue discussions.
Listening to a report by the Chairman of the State Security Committee, Valery Vakulchik, Mr. Lukashenko noted his eagerness to discuss the situation domestically and abroad. “I won’t hide the fact that we’re keeping track of trends in relations with the West — primarily, the EU and the USA. I’ve recently noticed the West’s interest in establishing constructive relations with us — as reported by my internal sources and the media.”
The President stressed that, this year, several foreign political issues need attention. “At the beginning of the year, when new ideas and trends are born, I want to hear your analysis of the situation. The State Security Committee Chairman delivers a report to me every year, on the situation and on our points of focus for foreign and domestic policy. He tells me the concerns of our citizens and possible threats — although I don’t generally observe any in our country. We have no intention of dramatising the situation but, as I’ve told our military, we need to be on the alert to any negative forces within our borders and beyond.”