Socio-economic development of the Minsk region, first Quarter 2011
The newspaper “Mіnskaya pravda” published data of the Central Statistical Office of the Minsk region on 5 May, regarding the outcome of socio-economic development in the first quarter of 2011.
In January-March 2011 the Minsk region secured the implementation of key forecasts. The gross regional product amounted to Br 5.6 trillion, i.e. increased compared with the similar period of the last year in comparable prices by 10.8%, while the prediction for 2011 was 9-10%.
The reporting period has not yet been affected by the currency crisis that broke out in April and the local authorities managed to match major performance indicators with the designated level. Nevertheless, the first two months of the year (there is no March data) have been profitable for 1030 organizations of the region i.e. for 74.2%.
The growth of wages stopped. Nominal gross average monthly wages and salaries amounted to 1,429.4 million rubles. In December 2010 the figure was much higher, 1,520.7 thousand rubles. Real wages in March compared with February 2011 decreased by 0.2%.
A situation with foreign direct investment is catastrophic on a net basis (excluding debts to direct investors for goods, works and services). It was planned to attract over one billion dollars of FDI to the Minsk region in 2011. De facto, during the first two months of the year as little as 6.8 million was attracted.
In April one of the two largest enterprises, i.e. automobile giant BelAZ, was not affected by the crisis: the personnel works full-time, while the plant site is packed with finished products.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.