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.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.