Alexander Lukashenko’s administrative tools to stimulate exports
On 6 March Alexander Lukashenko signed a Decree No 126 to regulate the granting of export credits by banks.
For instance, the document provides for the granting of export credits in Belarusian rubles by banks with the interest rate of two-thirds of the discount rate of the National Bank. It also provides for compensation of losses to banks due to the provision of export credit in the loan’s foreign currency, extension of the waiting period of completion of the foreign trade operations and the payment of insurance indemnity under an insurance contract of export risks secured by the state without permission of the National Bank. In order to reduce the time of issue of export credits, the decree envisages that the compensation of losses to banks from the provision of export credit up to USD 500,000 in equivalent, will be authorized by the Finance Ministry’s and adopted following a procedure established by the Government of the Republic of Belarus. Thus, the planned growth of exports will be achieved via administrative support and concessional lending.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.