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 country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.