[b]If we must prioritise, our foremost concern must be the economy, since our welfare depends on its growth. Its successes, innovations and problems are ever under scrutiny, helping us modify our approach and achieve our goals efficiently.[/b]
This issue of our magazine is dedicated to the Belarusian economy, where 85 percent of goods and services are exported. Clearly, the welfare of the state, stability on the currency market and the sustainability of the Belarusian Rouble exchange rate rely on the dynamic promotion of our domestic enterprises’ goods abroad. Exports are vital to our economic security, so the Government has long focused on this sphere. Socio-economic results for the first nine months of 2012 have been analysed, to help us find the best way to stimulate exports. Professor Georgy Grits, the Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Association, ponders this topic in Changing our Way of Thinking.
It has taken just over a year to create the most contemporary enterprise at an empty site near Mogilev, as explored in Logics of Pragmatic Sense. In our competitive global market, producers are battling for customer loyalty more than ever. Buyers expect quality and reliability, with enterprises investing huge efforts to build a good reputation for their brand. Of course, protection is also required for domestic trademarks, to avoid ruthless rivals from taking unfair advantage.
According to calculations by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, our country’s economic potential is at least $10 trillion, ensuring annual GDP growth of 10-15 percent (until 2020). However, many producers are yet to realise the true value of their brand — either through false modesty or ignorance. The size of the global market is such that a reputable brand is priceless; it can even be used to sell unrelated goods, such as ‘branded’ T-shirts or training shoes. Wise utilisation can add up to 25 percent onto a product’s price. The BelBrand 2012 rating (annually prepared by MMP Consulting Agency) shows that ‘Santa Bremor’ is Belarus’ number one brand name — worth $75.3m. In second place is ‘Milavitsa’ ($71.5m), followed by ‘Babushkina Krynka’ ($49.2m). Read more in Being Aware of One’s Own Worth.
Boldly Rewriting the Foundations of Economics is dedicated to Gomel scientists’ creation of a computer programme to save money and energy resources. The shift of energy-intensive production processes to night time, when tariffs are cheaper, may actually bring greater financial expenditure and increase electricity consumption. Gomel State Technical University students have developed methods to save energy and resources, using their own ‘Optima+’ computer programme. Young scientists Andrey Ivaneichik, Andrey Kuzero and Alexander Kharkevich analysed the situation at Gomel Foundry Plant Tsentrolit and Mozyrsalt JSC and gave their recommendations, helping reduce energy consumption by 5 percent. More efficient management is reducing costs by 12 percent and fuel consumption by more than 5 percent.
Where the economy is efficient, our standard of living rises. Even our savings need to work efficiently, so we look at methods of personal saving in Rates Are Determined, helping you make your plans.
Specialists assert that bank savings are the most universally beneficial, although not everyone is convinced. Of course, there are other ways to ‘store’ your money — such as property investment. The latter has long been popular in Belarus although it remains beyond the reach of many. Buying property requires us to ‘lock in’ funds for some period — usually at least five years. It’s possible to sell property earlier but national legislation prevents this from being beneficial. Since the beginning of the year, the price of one square metre has risen by approximately 4 percent.
The National Bank has long understood that alternative investment avenues exist and is keen to expand its services to attract citizens’ savings. An interesting draft decree is being approved, aiming to open up financial markets and appoint new regulators. Its desire to nurture undeveloped financial markets is a broad hint to commercial banks that the days of unconditional customer loyalty are over; like other institutions, it will be fighting for investors’ money. To date, the National Bank has enjoyed a monopoly of about 95 percent of public funds, due to a lack of alternatives. Securities, pensions and precious metals comprise just 5 percent of savings.
We hope that this edition gives you much to ponder. Without doubt, economic success is at the heart of comfortable living, especially in these modern times.
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