Economic security parameters for 2012 approved by the Ministry of Economy
The Ministry of Economy has adopted a number of indicators of economic security of Belarus. Most of the indicators in 2012, as projected by the Ministry of Economy, will “fit” within the threshold values.
The Ministry of Economy has based its calculations on the approved socio-economic development indicators, which, as noted repeatedly, are characterized by unwarranted optimism and certain inadequacy. However, the command economy of Belarus lacks the real objective economic forecast and calculations. Government officials, even while modeling do not take into account the possible scenarios of the GDP loss or failure of other indicators. As a result, all the official plans are largely declarative. At the same time, external debt and other indicators in Belarus are still far from their thresholds. The country embarked on a rapid growth of external debt only recently (in 2009), therefore it still has some time before thresholds are reached.
However, given the speed rate of growth of external debt, as well as the low competitiveness of industry and the poor quality of the economic policy, a margin of safety could be reached in a few years.
At the same time, important indicators of economic security, such as the level of the gold and currency reserves, investment in fixed assets, the share of innovative products, the availability of own energy resources – have already been either exceeded or will be exceeded in the near future.
External public debt (excluding guarantees of companies’ debts) in 2012 should not exceed 24.2% of the GDP (the threshold is set at 25% of the GDP).
The internal public debt in 2012 should not exceed 1.9% of the GDP with the threshold of 20% of the GDP.
Public debt service payments (external and internal) in 2012 will approach the threshold value (up to 10% of the expenditures of the republican budget) and make up, according to the Ministry of Economy, 9.7% of budget expenditures (against 5.7% in 2011.)
The level of gold reserves in 2012 will be approximately 2 times lower than the threshold of economic security - at least 3 months of imports. It is projected the level of reserves will decrease to 1.5-1.7 months of imports (1.9 months of imports in 2011).
The threshold value of foreign trade deficit is set at no more than 5% of the GDP. The projected balance for 2012 will be positive at the level of 2.3-2.7% of the GDP against 5.7% deficit of the GDP in 2011 and 13.9% of the GDP in 2010.
The share of investment in fixed assets relative to the GDP in 2012 will be significantly reduced, but will not reach the threshold. Thus, the Ministry of Economy projects its decline to 27% of the GDP from 33.1% of the GDP in 2011 and 34% of the GDP in 2010 (threshold value for the share of investment is 25% of the GDP).
Share of own energy in 2012 will not exceed 25% against 23% in 2011, with the threshold indicator not less than 30%.
The threshold value of the share of innovative products in the industry is set at not less than 20%, but the actual proportion as projected Economy Ministry in 2012, will decrease to 14.5% from 15.5% in 2011.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.