Targeted housing subsidies will reduce state's expenses on housing construction in Belarus
According to Decree 240, a new type of state support for citizens in need of improving housing conditions has appeared in Belarus, state targeted subsidies.
The difference from the previous system, which is likely to be scrapped in the future, is that it envisages assistance directly to citizens, without the banks. The subsidy size would depend on the type of the need and would be tied to the National Bank’s discount rate. Belarusians are likely to increase spending on housing construction and reduce financing of the construction industry. Support for large families will be reduced by increasing loan servicing costs, and loan terms for this group of citizens would be reduced from 40 to 20 years. Lending for housing construction at commercial rates would increase due to increased participation of banks in lending programmes.
As interest rates in the economy decrease, the state may abandon targeted housing subsidies altogether; the transition to market relations in construction would expand the circle of potential housing buyers through optimised prices and increased competition among developers.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.