National Bank outlines monetary policy goals until late 2014

April 22, 2016 18:54

According to the National Bank’s forecasts, BYR/USD exchange rate by late 2014 will be between BYR 10700 – 10800 per USD 1, the discount rate will drop to 20% per annum and interest rates on loans - down to 29% per annum. To implement these plans, the National Bank will continue "gradually" weakening of the Belarusian ruble against the USDollar (by circa BYR 100-120 per month); maintaining the positive yield on ruble deposits; gradually expanding lending to the real sector of the economy (the difference in rates for different sectors of the economy will persist, but the difference in the rates will decrease). The main risks are associated with reduced requirements for borrowers and possible expansion of government programmes which could trigger a rapid growth in lending to the economy and increase pressure on the currency market.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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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.