Government declares “hunting for intermediaries"
Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting on anti-brokering. The State Control Committee proposed a draft decree, which prohibits the use of mediation schemes in the procurement of goods (works, services) at the own expense of state organizations, as well as joint stock companies with state share over 50%.
In the loose monetary policy and de facto recession at the largest enterprises of the country a new "guilty" for inflation and demand for currency is elected - intermediaries (wholesale and retail trade). And if intervention in the retail business started in 2011 on the eve of New Year celebrations, the 2012 starts with a fight with wholesalers (according to Lukashenko, “The state and the economy are suffering losses due to the fact that a parasitic layer, being in clover on speculations, has formed”).
Thus, it has once again confirmed that Lukashenko does not believe in private and free business; all brokers for him are speculators.
In addition, a new round of fighting with intermediaries emphasizes two more new emerging trends.
Thus, in the conditions of the public sector domination in production because of an unfavorable business climate, private business got concentrated in specific niches, mainly in the services sector, in particular - in wholesale trade. Now, under conditions of high import capacity of the economy, the government wants to supplant private owners of a profitable business. In addition, the desire to "order control" means the de facto collapse of the state in the fight against corruption and counting on a proven power unit of the Government (the State Contol Committee (SCC)). “This issue has become a criminal. First of all, because the mediators - are mostly relatives, children, retainers, friends of individual managers, who buy such goods, whether it is imported or Belarusian”, - said Lukashenko. Thus, under the guise of anti-brokering, begins a new round of a carpet nomenclature struggle, including for rents, declining during the economic crisis (slight return). Another finding of the new trends to enhance the administrative interference into the business climate is the lack of confidence in receiving the new IMF loan and the count on further preferences from Russia.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.