At a session focusing on Belarus’ social-economic development, Alexander Lukashenko agreed with the National Bank’s proposal to open an extra trading session at the currency exchange, to allow free sale and purchase of Dollars, Euros, Russian Roubles and other currency. “All currency demand and proposal will be concentrated on the currency exchange,” the Head of State said.
Belarusians will be also able to transfer bank deposits in Roubles into deposits in foreign currency. “If someone wants to transfer their Rouble deposits into foreign currency deposits, they should be given this opportunity. People should not be restricted in any manner,” the President asserted. However, Mr. Lukashenko advised against converting deposits, reminding that banks already offer good interest rates for deposits in Belarusian Roubles. In the near future, interest rates are to be raised even higher.
The President reminded again that Belarus has no need to freeze public banking deposits. He noted that, according to the National Bank’s estimations, over $7bn is held by individuals. “In this respect, I order the National Bank to create terms which will inspire people to take their money to banks. If this proves useful, I’m even ready to study the issue of capital amnesty,” he added.
Mr. Lukashenko noted a sustainable trend of positive foreign trade balance, with Belarusian products being more actively exported and the inflow of foreign currency reaching a record high of $25bn over the first seven months of 2011. From May-July, the country received $1bn more foreign currency than it spent.
As Mr. Lukashenko noted, in recent months, the country has managed not to spend its gold and currency reserves. This is not so much the result of currency-related restrictions but of improved macroeconomic policy. “By the end of the year, apart from export earnings, the country will raise at least $5bn from strategic investors at profitable terms. Other sources have been considered as well,” he stressed.
The Head of State believes it necessary that the country establishes proper order in the banking system, while discouraging the public from breaking the law. The President has instructed the National Bank to introduce an electronic system no later than October 2011. Anyone buying foreign currency will need to present their passport, with personal records kept for each buyer — as observed in many countries — including Russia.
“Simultaneously with our rate policy measures, I prohibit the National Bank and the Government from conducting any emission. All construction sites and projects should be financed from reasonable non-emission sources,” he stressed. Mr. Lukashenko has named import substitution as a priority, with republican and local budgetary spending to be kept within the limit of earnings. “All revenue which originates from higher prices should be channelled into social protection measures. This refers to both state-funded and commercial organisations,” stated the President, explaining that super profits should be seized. “Businesses, enterprises and individuals who work successfully should understand that now is the time for them to offer their shoulder to the state,” Mr. Lukashenko said.
The President addressed entrepreneurs, saying, “We’re meeting businesses half way. These are not words but concrete actions. In H1 2011, the fundamental decisions of Directive #4 came into force, envisaging free pricing, the replacement of salary rates with recommendations, the release of salaries, the introduction of economic encouragement measures and the reduction of licensable businesses. This is not a complete list of achievements. Social responsibility for businesses is not a slogan but a guideline,” Mr. Lukashenko stressed, adding that Belarus will continue following its socially oriented policy. “No deviations from the policy adopted by the All-Belarus People’s Assembly will take place — now or in the future,” he emphasised.