State employees’ salaries increased: a promise that had to be fulfilled
Canceled in August, the raise of the tariff rate for the first class workers would be implemented in September. Accelerated inflation in August made indexing of wages inevitable. Increased incomes will increase domestic demand and may result in greater inflation.
On August 20th, 2012 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus adopted a resolution No 769, setting the tariff rate for the first class workers at BYR 225,000.
On September 1st, 2012 a new tariff rate for the first-class workers will be BYR 225 thousand (increased by 7.1%), which will raise the salaries in the public sector by 6.1% on average. The regulation also increases differentiation among employees in terms of payment, depending on the complexity of work.
There are funds in the state budget to increase salaries in the public sector. Consolidated budget surplus in the first half of 2012 will beBYR 3.7 trillion. Belarusian companies earned BYR 41.9 trillion net profit. Additional budget revenues will thus be redistributed in citizens’ favour.
Increase in the tariff rate is lined to the inflation. In August, due to the increased utilities’ costs inflation accelerated. During the first two weeks in August, consumer prices rose by 1.5% compared with average prices in July. Indexation of wages is carried out if inflation reaches 5% and higher during a period. Thus, state employees’ salaries increase is a forced and inevitable measure.
The average salary in the public sector with the increase from September 1, 2012 will be BYR 3.2 million. Officials’ wages lag behind the average in the economy, and such disparity has a negative impact on employment in the public sector. The outflow of workers into other spheres can lead to a staff shortage for a number of vacancies.
However, there are some negative trends in the economy. Industrial growth slowed down. Labour productivity could not keep up with the growth of wages in the economy. Unfavorable trends in foreign markets for a number of Belarusian products can reduce profits.
In these circumstances, additional incomes of state employees may increase domestic demand, increase imports and result in a general price growth, including services cost, which will level incomes’ growth.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.