Government completes development of its timetable for tomorrow

“National security tasks have been actually solved, the budgetary-financial system is working without deficit, the inflow of foreign currency to the country exceeds outflow, and inflation has been stabilised, as have the currency and deposit markets. These trends need to be reinforced systematically, becoming irreversible,” noted Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, at a session of the Council of Ministers. The major areas of the Government’s work over the next 11 months are to include the modernisation of the economy, the attraction of investments, and the growth of citizens’ incomes and exports.

By Vladimir Vasiliev

 

Modernising the economy

Last year, a package of documents was adopted to aid efficient economic development; three year planning, a range of antimonopoly measures and regulation of state organisations’ purchases feature. The Prime Minister emphasises, “Unfair intermediaries should disappear, in favour of transparency, open declarations of results and the organisation of tenders for purchases.”

 

New industrial policy

In late February, the Government will consider a draft programme on industrial development, focusing on large contemporary corporate structures. Normative documents have been developed for the establishment, work and development of holdings. Such associations are real and attractive assets, including co-operation with transnational corporations. The major effect of such projects is to enhance the competitiveness and stability of large manufacturing enterprises.

 

Privatisation

The Government has formed and will soon present to the President a range of measures on privatisation. The Prime Minister explains, “There won’t be any sale of state property. We’ll be gradually opening our economy while creating new jobs and attracting investors — to raise the prosperity of our people. Enterprises included on the list will only be sold where mutually beneficial terms are met.”

Assets registered in privatisation plans for this year amount to at least $2.5bn in value, providing a useful source of revenue for the country.

 

Investments

Resources and capital are needed to modernise the economy. Naturally, the country lacks enough funds to complete all the work it would like. In 2012, at least $15bn of investments are needed, with our banking system able to supply no more than a third (at high interest rates). According to the Government, enterprises lack enough finances of their own (generating just $8bn per year) while external borrowing creates a burden for years to come. Clearly, direct foreign injections are the best solution to the problem.

 

Rising salaries

Raising people’s salaries is the biggest priority at present, in order to restore their purchasing power. The country also needs to curb inflation and ensure that salaries are linked to productivity. Mr. Myasnikovich proposes, “Where there is no growth in labour productivity, awards and bonuses should not be paid under any circumstances to the heads of enterprises and state authorities.”

 

Exports and foreign trade balance

The goal of 2012 is to raise exports and achieve a positive trade balance. According to Nikolai Snopkov, Belarus’ Economy Minister, in 2011, the Belarusian economy became more export-oriented, with over 60 percent of manufactures supplied to foreign markets. In 2010, this figure stood at just 46 percent. This has enabled us to form a healthier commodity foreign trade structure. In 2010, export revenue failed to cover the country’s spending on imported raw materials while, in 2011, export revenue exceeded the cost of imported raw materials by 17 percent. This should become the basis for even more efficient economic management in 2012.

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