People’s incomes restrict retail trade growth in Belarus
According to the National Statistics Committee, in January - May 2016, retail trade turnover decreased by 1.8% compared with 2015. The main reason is the drop in real disposable income of the population, which in four months decreased by 6.9%. In order to maintain the customary living standard the population monthly spends USD 200-250 million from savings, which somewhat hinders the pace of the turnover fall. Retail market is likely to continue to shrink. In order to boost consumer demand, retailers are likely to introduce new sales and loans by reducing the level of trade allowances. Amid state measures to curb inflation, the state is likely to step up audit of retailers. Retail chains are likely to expand only if it was planned in previous years. Due to low consumer demand, Belarusian retailers are likely to carry out lay-offs to reduce costs.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.