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Situation is not simple but we must be proactive

President was reported by the Government and National Bank on work of the economy and projects for the future, as well as on budget and monetary-credit policy for 2017
The key documents are ready and the budget is expected to be adopted during the forthcoming parliamentary session. The main requirement of Alexander Lukashenko is that the economy should work to ensure that the plan of action - adopted at the 5th All-Belarusian People’s Congress — is realised.

Produce by Mogilev’s Zenit JSC enjoys popularity in many Russian regions and CIS states

The first year of the five-year plan has indeed been difficult. On the one hand, the financial and foreign currency markets are stable and inflation is under control. Belarus is covering its state obligations in full and on time. On the other hand, the economy has not yet reached the trajectory of sustainable economic growth — as the experts say. There are problems with exports and, as a result, difficulties with the inflow of foreign currency to the country. The financial state of some enterprises is cause for concern and the President concluded, “It seems that, contrary to the five year adopted programme, the government is implementing an inactive phase. It has been drifting — referring to adverse external factors and failing to mobilise all forces and resources for economic recovery.”

The government explains the failure of some key indicators on mistakes made in calculating the basic parameters: the exchange rate of the US Dollar and the Russian Rouble and oil prices. The US Dollar has turned out to be more expensive than predicted and oil is cheaper. The guidelines taken as the basis a year ago were, even then, not so optimistic. However, the situation is now even more complicated. Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov describes it as follows, “At present, the economy is operating under the adverse conditions of the development of external factors which were calculated at the beginning of the year to determine the targets. January and February were a stressful period: oil prices made $30 or less and the US Dollar exchange rate stood at 80 Russian Roubles. March and June were a period of recovering growth. July and August were a period of negative impact, primarily on the part of Russia (in connection with the reduction of oil supply volumes to our refineries for processing) and also due to unfavourable conditions in the field of agriculture. The reduction of cost and supply volumes of potash fertilisers to external markets also had an influence on the first eight months of the year.”

While making plans for the next year, the government is trying not to repeat its mistakes. The draft budget has been drawn up in line with a conservative scenario. The latter is based on an oil price of $35 per barrel and a US Dollar exchange rate of 75 Russian Roubles. GDP growth of 0.2 percent is planned. Accordingly, the budget has been made with caution, taking into account the probability of a smaller increase in this index than planned. The forecast for socio-economic development relies on a figure of 1.7 percent. It is assumed that real wages will grow by 1.5 percent next year, while inflation will not exceed the 9 percent mark.

Mr. Lukashenko recommends that the government looks less at external factors. “Since we are defending the independence of our state, we should make money on our own — putting a stake on internal resources... In other words, the key to solving problems and progress is rooted in our own knowledge and technologies.”

Important to draw up the correct line

By Vasily Kharitinov

In an interview to UN Radio, Belarus’ Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei, commented that he is surprised at the unwillingness of European leaders to reach common ground on refugee issues

The Minister noted that the reasons behind this large-scale migration are self-explanatory: armed conflicts lead to refugee flows. “This means we need to root out the reasons that lead to these flows of refugees. We need to do our best to prevent armed conflicts. And we should say openly that the responsibility is on the states that unleash these conflicts,” said the diplomat confidently.

Mr. Makei said that over 160,000 migrants came to Belarus from Ukraine. The Republic took timely decisions so that people would not feel underprivileged.

According to the diplomat, special attention should be paid to people with disabilities, women and children. “They deserve special care and assistance. In this respect, the most important thing is that we need to encourage the right attitude toward refugees from society. The state, as we understand it, should provide a legal framework for refugees’ integration with the society. Meanwhile, private business should also think of how it can help the refugees: create new jobs, provide opportunities to find accommodation and so on,” believes Mr. Makei.

“This problem is global, but we, in Belarus, have settled it for now. We hope that there will be no huge refugee flows in the future. Taking into account the current situation in Europe, we believe that the European countries need to take quick, clear and concrete decisions. Otherwise, very soon Europeans will face the problem of preserving their identity,” added the Minister.

By Vladimir Khromov
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