Lower discount rate may help Belarusian state-owned enterprises to reduce loan servicing costs
On April 1st, 2016, the National Bank’s discount rate will be reduced from 25% to 24% due to lower inflation expectations. In order to further reduce the cost of loans, reserve payments on attracted funds in national currency will be reduced to 7.5% from 8% and the upper margin for the interest rate on loans in the national currency will be set at 33% per annum. These measures will reduce the cost of loan servicing, for both, standard and soft loans. In addition, legal entities are likely to lose interest in short-term national currency deposits. However, the overall volume of loans is unlikely to increase to due to the economic slowdown and significant arrears on payments for delivered goods and services. Lower discount rate is likely to reduce people’s interest in rouble deposits.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.