Government’s efforts to create the Development Bank expedite
The Government expedites its efforts to set up the Development Bank in order to remove the burden of funding of governmental programs from the largest state-owned banks. Functioning Development Bank is one of the IMF requirements and also an opportunity to sell part of stakes in these banks at a better price.
The government of Belarus has approved the Credit Development Bank to deal with restructuring of loans issued to state banks for financing of the sate programmes. Under the new regulation, the Development Bank will restructure debts transferred to it by the state banks via deferment (installment) of repayment of principal debts and overdue interest payments. The mechanisms of restructuring include conversion of foreign currency loans into Belarusian rubles and exemption from penalties for overdue interest payments during the period of insolvency.
The Development Bank is also an agent of the Belarusian government for servicing and repayment of external public debt and foreign borrowings guaranteed by the government, issued for funding of projects, part of the state programme. Currently the funding of state programmes is implemented mainly by state-owned banks "Belarusbank" and "Belagroprombank".
In June 2011 the President of Belarus signed a decree on the establishment of the Development Bank of Belarus with a statutory fund Br20 billion (government share is 95%, share of the NBB is 5%). The Bank will take on its balance sheet loans of state banks issued for funding of state programmes before 1st January 2011, and as of 1st January 2012 it will take over funding of state programmes. The Development Bank is also an agent of the Belarusian government for servicing and repayment of external public debt and foreign borrowings guaranteed by the government, issued for funding of projects, part of the state programme. Currently the funding of state programmes is implemented mainly by state-owned banks "Belarusbank" and "Belagroprombank".
Creation of the Development Bank and changes in the funding mechanism of the state programmes was a basic condition of the IMF, which Belarus has not complied with since the previous loan has been provided by the IMF. Today the authorities are trying to accelerate the adoption of regulations that will allow the Development Bank to perform its functions and to unload the largest state-owned banks. As soon as the burden of governmental programmes is removed from the “Belarusbank” and “Belargroprombank”, their chances for being privatized would increase (the National Bank does not hide his desire to sell stakes in these banks at a reasonable price).
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.