By Alexander Bestemyanov
Belarus’ macroeconomic forecast for 2012 is rather ambitious, with plans to raise exports and ensure GDP growth. However, it’s difficult to outline all parameters until inflation is brought into line.
Debit with credit
How will Belarusian incomes and expenditures be distributed this year? The variables haven’t been disclosed, with the Government taking longer than usual to approve the state budget. However, we do know that it will be balanced. In 2012, Br141.8 trillion, or 27.8 percent of GDP, is to arrive as income from the consolidated budget while expenditure will equal the same amount. Balancing the budget is one of the most vital principles for any state, as the total amount of envisaged expenditure shouldn’t exceed total earnings.
“In 2012, the major goals for the state financial sector are enhanced stability and competitiveness of the national economy while reliably fulfilling financial obligations to foreign and domestic lenders. We also aim to preserve the quality of budgetary services and social protection for the most vulnerable members of the population,” promises the Finance Ministry.
Whom and how much?
The 2012 budget will preserve its social orientation, with a considerable part being spent on salaries, pensions, scholarships, allowances and other payments, as well as on the implementation of state social standards. Priorities are healthcare and education, with over two million square metres of state subsidised housing to be constructed for those in need. Real salaries in the state sector will rise by at least 5 percent.
In 2012, Br8.9 trillion is being allocated for social programmes, including those helping young people, and subsidising communal and transport services. Funding of the agro-industrial complex is being reduced, with money directed towards agro-industrial development via modernisation and renewal of machinery, energy saving measures and agrarian science, as well as subsidised interest rates on bank loans. In 2012, Br2.6 trillion is being allocated to the development of industry, construction and architecture.
The latest budget aims to give regions greater financial independence, with a new approach. It’s decided to abolish the formation of certain state targeted funds; in addition, expenditure (previously financed by these funds) is now being covered from the budget’s general revenue.
The Government forecasts 5-5.5 percent GDP growth this year, with economic growth generated from domestic resources. This reflects wider forecasts for the world economy and is guided by our major trading partners abroad.