Tackling forecasts and main directions
Budget expenditure soon to be optimised, with citizens to pay 100 percent of housing and utility costs by late 2018, and all taxes, duties, tariffs and rates to be unpegged from the Dollar in 2019
By Galina Kononova
This and other topics were discussed at the session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, focusing upon the draft socio-economic development forecast for 2017 and parameters of the main indicators for 2018-2019, as well as monetary management guidelines and the draft central state budget for 2017.
“We should have a balanced economy that allows us to implement development priorities in this five-year term. The key priority is balancing the payment balance and the state budget, reducing inflation. All economic policy instruments should be attuned with this in mind,” notes Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov.
Belarus needs to guarantee its overseas commitments without draining its gold and foreign currency reserves. In 2017, Belarus will need to spend about $3.2 billion on repaying state debt. Another critical task is to bolster the competitive ability of the economy and exports by reducing costs and increasing quality.
Andrei Kobyakov emphasises that, in order to ensure balanced development, it is necessary to take a closer look at tariffs for housing and utility services, and transport, reducing costs in these areas.
“We have to make sure that the population pays 100 percent of these costs by late 2018. There should be movement in both directions: electrical and heating companies and housing service providers should reduce their costs according to calculations. Simultaneously a system of cashless housing subsidies should be launched from October 1st, 2016.”
Regarding the budget, costs should be optimised, to reflect actual costs involved and avoiding the accumulation of external debt. The Council of Ministers wishes the state budget to preserve its social orientation, with social expenses secured in full.