Growth in net profits unlikely to improve situation with payments in Belarusian economy
According to the National Statistics Committee, in January-November 2016 the Belarusian economy’s net profit totalled BYN 4.7 billion, which was 21% more than in 2015. Net profit grew due to the absence of significant devaluation in 2016. Meanwhile, loss-making enterprises increased by 11%. Planned profits from the income tax are likely to be failed due to the insufficient profits at profitable enterprises, and layoffs in the industry are likely to persist, albeit at a slower rate as compared with 2015-2016. Investment opportunities of companies will depend on availability of own funds, private sector is likely to raise funds through issuing of public bonds in order to reduce loan costs. The situation with payments in the economy is unlikely to improve drastically due to the curtailed state funding of the loss-making state-owned enterprises. Banks are likely to restrict lending due to the growth in problem assets on banks' balance sheets.
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.