Minsk seeks to reduce military-technical dependence on Russia
The diversification of the military-technical cooperation between Belarus and foreign states is a long-term trend. In addition, Belarus aims to start producing some weapons and military equipment crucial for national defence.
Last week, Kazakhstan hosted the VIII meeting of the Sub-Commission for military-technical cooperation of the intergovernmental Kazakh-Belarusian commission for trade and economic cooperation. For obvious reasons, details have not been disclosed, however, the Belarusian delegation visited Kazakh defence enterprises Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering and Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering, which was indicative. The first enterprise, a joint venture with the South African Paramount Group specialises in the production of wheeled armoured vehicles. The second, with the participation of the Turkish Aselsan, among other things, produces secure communication systems, reconnaissance and target designation systems. These products are among the priority for the Belarusian military-industrial complex.
Earlier it was reported that the contract signed in 2015 for the delivery of Russian wheeled armoured vehicles to Belarus remained unperformed. President Lukashenka demanded that the national army gave priority to domestic products. In addition, the Belarusian military industrial complex had previously showed the ambition to establish the production of gun-type wheeled armoured vehicles.
In addition to Kazakh products, Belarus could be interested in Kazakhstan’s experience in organising joint production in the military-industrial complex. Such interest was stated at the highest level.
In the last decade, Minsk was consistently expanding the geography of the military-industrial cooperation. Simultaneously, it sought to reduce the dependence on defence supplies from Russia when it made economic and technological sense. In addition, the very fact of having partners other than Russia in such a sensitive sphere as the production of weapons is politically important.
Minsk has the incentive to seek new partners and deploy own defence production due to the problematic nature of Belarusian-Russian relations and Moscow's refusal to supply weapons and military technologies, which has prompted Belarus to producing own missile weapons (for example, the MLRS Polonaise).
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.