National Bank to determine upper margin of interest rates on loans and deposits
On June 1st, 2015, banks will incur additional costs if they set deposit rates above 33% per annum or issue individual loans at a rate above 46% and corporate loans – above 40% per annum. With its decision, the National Bank intends to stimulate lending to the economy. As a result, interest rates in the banking system will reduce and deposits’ growth will slow down due to the weakening of the national currency in May 2015. In addition, the National Banks anticipates revitalisation of lending to the private sector in the national currency and reduction of net foreign currency sales due to conversion of rouble deposits into foreign currency. The rate on overnight loans is regulated by the National Bank and will continue to decline in the view of potentially negative reaction from the population to reduction in the yield from rouble deposited in the Belarusian banking system.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.