By Vasily Belugin
A favourable geographical location is Belarus’ enduring trump card, with transit opportunities covering roads, air space, gas and oil pipelines and communication channel. All generate significant revenue for the country’s budget and the Government is keen to see this rise. Therefore, the Presidium of the Council of Ministers is keen to approve the 2011-2015 state transit potential development programme. Seven ministries, three committees and a range of other state agencies have presented a single concept, co-ordinated by the Transport and Communications Ministry. Belarus’ Transport and Communications Minister, Ivan Shcherbo, has presented the project, with First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko and Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov being the first to offer their remarks and proposals. It is being discussed for the fifth time (unlikely to be the last). Mr. Semashko notes that the tariff for Russian gas transit will rise to $2 next year (against today’s $1.88) while neighbouring Ukraine is paid $2.5 for its intermediary services; this should be taken into account by Belarusian experts.
The Transport and Communications Minister has promised that the new programme will take into consideration these recommendations. Mr. Shcherbo also stresses that, by 2015, revenue from transit via our territory should reach $2.4bn.