Belarus requires up to USD 500 million to finance Social Security Fund deficit
According to the Finance Ministry, the deficit in the social security fund in January-April 2017 totalled BYN 301 million or USD 158 million. The Social Security Fund has had deficit since 2015 and in order to solve the problem, the authorities decided to raise the retirement age. Due to a decrease in the number of employed in the economy amid a growth in pensioners, deficit in the Social Security Fund is likely to retain. Thanks to low inflation the authorities would not raise pensions and social benefits and may introduce some operational and functional cuts in the Fund’s budget. In 2016, the state allocated USD 750 million to finance the Social Security Fund budget deficit. In 2017, the Fund’s deficit is likely to reduce to USD 500 million, which would be funded from the state budget at the expense of other expenditure items.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.