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Belarusian government may review state’s role in economic regulation

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October 24, 2016 11:53

After ‘optimising’ the state employees in number, the Belarusian authorities seek to revise their functions. Perhaps, their intention is due to the lack of positive results from previous attempts to reform the state apparatus and due to the need to create a favourable environment for negotiations with external creditors. Nevertheless, the Belarusian authorities seem to be ready for some changes in economic regulations in order to create a positive environment for investors and creditors.

Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Mikhail Myasnikovich have spoken in favour of reasonable bureaucracy.

In the past, Myasnikovich repeatedly raised the issue of state de-bureaucratisation, which however did not lead to significant changes in the economic regulation. An experienced state manager, Myasnikovich understands the existing conflict of interests, when state officials are not interested in cutting back their regulatory functions. The president is unlikely to overcome the inertia in the state apparatus and fully lift restrictions on business, however, some concessions are possible.

Amid the lack of opportunities to ensure 100% employment, the government will be prompted to accept some restrictions on its regulatory functions in the economy. For instance, Economy Ministry officials talked about allowing more types of activity without registering as a private entrepreneur. In all likelihood, by doing so they would aim to legalise shadow economy workers and to reduce the pressure on the population due to the enacted ‘social parasitism’ regulation.

Nevertheless, despite some possible reductions in regulatory activity of the state in the economy, the state will still be a major player in the economy and will continue dominating on the property market. In all likelihood, some liberalisation for business will be due to the need to redistribute excess workforce from state enterprises due to the ‘optimisation’.

Under the pressure of economic circumstances and requirements by external creditors, the Belarusian government may be ready to review the functions of state officials in economic regulation.

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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.

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