EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund has approved USD 440 million tranche for Belarus
The fourth tranche, another USD 440 million, is anticipated to be allocated this autumn. However, for its part, Belarus has to privatize state assets worth at least USD 1.2 billion in January-September 2012. Annual proceeds from privatization of state assets should be USD 2.5 billion.
The list of assets for potential privatization includes an automobile manufacturer MAZ, telecommunications operator MTS, as well as medium-sized Belarusian enterprises and public real estate objects.
According to the Ministry of Finance, as of May 1st, Belarus’ foreign debt in January-April 2012 increased by USD 40 million (or 0.3%) up to USD 13.440 billion.
In the second half of 2012 the trend towards growth in external public debt will remain: loans will be obtained from the World Bank, China and the ACF of the EurAsEC. Moreover, an investment project for the construction of a nuclear power plant has been launched, funded by the Russian Government and Vneshekonombank’s loans. Belarus’ external public debt margin by the end of 2012 is set at USD 14.3 billion and is likely to be revised upward again for the next year.
For reference. According to the National Statistics Committee, assets of Belarusian enterprises in the Q1 2012 increased by 3.3% to Br 961.9 trillion in nominal terms, but in USD terms - by 7.6% to USD 119.938 billion as of April 1st.
The Belarusian authorities could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.