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).
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.