The government starts dealing with arrears
“Belneftehim” restricted supply of its subordinate enterprises to foreign enterprises-debtors. This decision was adopted at a meeting of the Board of the Group on 29 July 2011.
Reports say, Belarusian exporters’ receivables exceeded $ 4 billion, of which $ 2 billion accounted for arrears.
The main volume of foreign currency earnings, which stays unreasonably outside Belarus, is accountable for the Ministry of Industry enterprises and the concern “Belneftekhim”. All together they are responsible for about 70% of the Belarusian exports. The reasons behind the delayed return of foreign currency earnings are not only due to unattractive official exchange rate, but also to the possibility to make quick gains using financial institutions abroad. While struggling to increase the foreign currency earnings the authorities still adhere to the usual administrative methods. The intrigue is that unofficial repost say, the State Control Committee, the main oversight body of the country, informally does not support the current economic policy. SCC experts were both against the unwinding of extensive loans and income growth at the end of 2010, as well as against the current policy of multiple exchange rates. Without full and unconditional support of the SCC, any repressive attempts would be ineffective.
Accordingly, prognosis for the future is that the number of corruption schemes will increase, there will be little progress on the return of currency earnings (by large state-owned enterprises), and continuation of fights behind the scenes between different power groups for a way out of the crisis in the country.
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.