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.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.