Belarus and Turkmenistan Economic Cooperation
The official visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Belarus on 27-28 April aims at expanding economic, investment and trade cooperation between the two countries. Belarus and Turkmenistan intend to fulfill several joint industrial and infrastructure investment projects with the introduction of modern technology.
At present, there are 15 operating enterprises with the participation of Belarusian capital in Turkmenistan. Thirteen investment projects with Belarus’ share in the total amount of $ 1.123 billion are registered there. The major investment project is the construction of Garlyk mining and processing plant for the production of potash fertilizer with a capacity of 1.4 million tons per year. In January 2010, JSC \"Belgorkhimprom\" and \"Turkmenkhimiya” concern signed a turnkey construction contract with the assistance of Belarusian specialists.
The launch of the plant is scheduled for January 2015. The Process Plant Complex includes a mine, a processing plant and supporting structures. The plant has a 50–year supply of raw materials. Potassium chloride produced at the plant will fully meet the needs of Turkmenistan, and will be exported to other countries.
In the course of the visit, the parties discussed possibilities for Belarus’ participation in the construction of plants for large-panel earthquake-proof housing and for precast concrete products, as well as plants for the production of heat-insulating materials, light metal, ceramic tiles. The sides agreed to continue developing projects in other fields, including banking.
This year, within the frameworks of joint investment projects, Turkmenistan has significantly increased its purchases of Belarusian goods. According to Mr. Berdymukhammedov, in the first quarter of 2012, foreign trade between Belarus and Turkmenistan is projected at $ 320 million.
Turkmenistan imports agricultural, road, construction and utility equipment, machinery, equipment, building materials, food, and medicines.
In April 2012, the Ministry of Public Services of Turkmenistan signed contracts for the purchase of 1,989 units of vehicles produced by “MAZ” and 173 units of “Amkodor” special equipment . Belarus will continue supplying tower cranes and elevators to Turkmenistan.
For reference. According to the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, in January-February 2012 the volume of foreign trade between Belarus and Turkmenistan increased by 60.9%, compared to the same period of the previous year, and amounted to $ 25.792 million. Exports of Belarusian goods to Turkmenistan also rose by 65.4% to $ 25.294 million.
According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2012, Turkmenistan’s GDP growth rate was 7%. In absolute terms, the GDP of Turkmenistan in 2012 is estimated at $ 29.93 billion (current prices). Per capita GDP, calculated by purchasing power parity (PPP), in 2012 will amount to 8,367 thousand dollars. The inflation in the country is expected to decline to 7% this year. The population of Turkmenistan will grow in 2012 to 5.614 million people.
Forecasted oil exports for Turkmenistan: in 2010 - $ 8.617 billion, in 2011 - $ 14.782 billion, in 2012 - $ 15.919 billion , in 2013 - $ 16.782 billion, in 2014 - $ 17.095 billion, in 2015 - $ 17.7 billion, in 2016 - $ 17.896 billion , and in 2017 - $ 18.181 billion. 2010 data is what has been reported Figures for 2011 are estimated. Figures for 2012-2017 are the IMF forecast.
The Belarusian authorities could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.