Funding of state programmes
The launch of the Development Bank should improve the effectiveness of state support programmes and, consequently, the macroeconomic stability in general. However, it is likely that industry lobbyists will accommodate the new rules of financing of state programmes to fit their needs.
A joint Resolution of the Government and National Bank No 14/1 of January 5, 2012 approved the terms and conditions of financing of projects, listed as state support programmes by the “Development Bank of Belarus”. The document stipulates the Development Bank will fund the state programmes on its own behalf and at its own expenses.
In this regard the statement of the Chairman of the Board of the National Bank Nikolay Luzgin speaks for itself, “Certain stabilization makes some business executives and government officials feel euphoria and complacency. They start applying for all sorts of programmes, construction sites, irrelevant of their cost recovery in foreign currency. They start applying for loans, naturally for preferential ones, via the state programmes. However the situation remains rather complicated”.
The Banks’ priorities include loans for state programmes for housing construction in rural areas, agricultural development, the creation or development of high-tech industries. The volumes of funding within these state programmes, and sources of funding are defined in the draft budget of the Development Bank in compliance with the annual plan of financing of state programmes, which is determined by the Government.
However, the document emphasizes that the decision on funding of projects listed in the state programmes should be taken directly by the Development Bank and in the case of an outstanding debt of an applicant to the Development Bank regarding loans issued previously, new loans will not be granted. The Bank also has the right to suspend loan transfers under previously signed contracts.
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.