Budget surplus may not last until year-end
According to the Finance Ministry, in H1 2016, the plan for income tax on profit was implemented by 37% and for revenues from foreign economic activity by 48% of the planned annual volume. The overall budget surplus in H1 2016 totalled BYN 1 billion or 2% of GDP and was achieved due to containment of non-priority government spending. The state is likely to increase expenditure on stimulating economic growth, cuts in oil supply in July and August are likely to lead to an increase in the backlog between revenues from foreign economic activity and the projected targets for 2016 and the state is likely to require additional funds to repay public debt. The planned wage growth in education is likely to increase budget expenditure on social needs and is likely to be funded from the existing budget surplus. In H2 2016, budget deficit is likely to occur and current budget surplus is unlikely to cover all projected costs without further austerity measures.
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.