EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund: Belarus has already budgeted future installments
The draft 2013 state budget has incorporated the receipt and use of the fifth and sixth tranches within the EurAsEC ACF loan to finance the national budget’s deficit. However, there may be certain difficulties in negotiating the tranches’ disbursement, linked to the failure to meet a set of agreed indicators.
From 15th to 19th October 2012, EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund evaluation mission will be working in Belarus.
On October 2nd, 2012 the House of Representatives approved in the first reading the draft law “On the 2013 national budget”. The draft 2013 budget is balanced. The balanced budget lists USD 880 million in external funding from international creditors, i.e. the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund. Conditions for the allocation of ACF tranches are elaborated in the Letter of Intent dated June 13, 2012.
Some indicators, essential for receiving the next tranche from the Anti-Crisis Fund, will not be implemented. The ACF considers the failure to fulfill the requirement regarding increased share in utility costs and transport tariffs coverage by the population, as non critical. Alternatively, failure to meet the volumes of state property sales is critical.
Today there are no major privatization transactions. MAZ and KAMAZ assets merger will not take place before 2013. An attempt to sell MTS shares for USD 1 billion is doomed to failure. Deterioration in the foreign exchange market and an urgent need to refinance the public debt could result in increased pressure from Russia in terms of privatization.
Belarus has no other options for external funding. 2013 socio-economic development plan leaves little hope for new cooperation programme with the IMF. Belaruskali loan refinancing agreement was made on market terms.
Russia could exploit the situation and delay negotiations on the next tranche’s allocation. In the circumstances, when yet unavailable resources have been budgeted, and their replacement is impossible on similar conditions, there may be trade-offs in terms of easing the requirements for potential buyers from Russia, willing to buy state-owned Belarusian assets.
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.