Government sums up economic results
First nine months of 2015 come under Government scrutiny, highlighting positive macro-economic parameters despite complex economic situation
At the governmental session
Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov explained the main task to the Government, saying, “The Council of Ministers needs to take prompt and systematic measures to expand specific avenues of economic development, while ensuring balanced economic progress. We’re aware of basic approaches. However, under today’s conditions of great instability and lack of sustainable global markets, the Government and the National Bank will continue focusing on enhancing macroeconomic sustainability, and preserving necessary levels of social protection.”
Although our economy is ‘shrinking’ (by 3.7 percent in these nine months), Belarus is managing to sustain its repayment of foreign debt in full, and within set terms, without any damage to international reserve assets. This is a great advantage. The country allocated Br16.4tr from the national budget (2.6 percent of GDP) to pay debt in these first nine months of 2015.
Meanwhile, the foreign currency market remains stable, with pure selling of foreign currency by individuals and companies to banks reaching almost $350m this year so far.
Our foreign trade is in balance, which is good news. As Mr. Kobyakov noted with satisfaction, our foreign trade balance is among the best of the past 15 years, at $1.2bn. The country’s balance of payments has improved and, importantly, all state obligations regarding social allowances and state support of the private sector are being fulfilled.
“At the same time, we’ve lacked economic growth over these nine months. Industrial production volumes stood at 92.9 percent of last year’s (comparing the recent three months). We are falling rather than growing in the field of industry,” noted the PM, adding that investments have also fallen, by 13.9 percent.
The greatest reduction in industrial production has been seen at enterprises run by the Industry Ministry, and by the Architecture and Construction Ministry, and at Bellegprom, Bellesbumprom and Belgospishcheprom concerns. Agro-industrial goals are not being met.
“Our task is to ensure restoration of economic growth, while meeting three major priorities: not increasing our foreign debt, considerably reducing our dependence on external factors and ensuring sustainable and balanced growth without inflation or devaluation. Exports and investments are major sources of growth under these conditions,” Mr. Kobyakov explained, adding that it’s vital to encourage construction, using foreign investments and foreign credit lines.
Vladimir Zinovsky, Economy Minister:
Looking at how our economy has performed since early 2015, there are two impressions. While we’ve seen unfavourable external challenges, wе’ve also improved our foreign trade balance (which is now positive). In addition, inflation is within our ceiling, standing at 10.1 percent; we’ve not observed such low inflation since 2011. We believe that forecasts will be met. State paid salaries have slightly risen and there are some other positives. On the other hand, the Government cannot be satisfied, since many macroeconomic figures have not been met. Industry, agriculture and construction have demonstrated poor results.
By Alexander Voronaev