Tightening of the monetary policy

April 22, 2016 17:55

The National Bank of Belarus stopped providing resources to commercial banks in the Belarusian rubles in exchange for foreign currency (in swap transactions, exchange deposits, etc).

At the same time the National Bank restricted issuing of loans by the state banks and increased their costs significantly in order to reduce pressure on the currency market.

The government ruled not to raise the base wage rate (effective as of 1 November 2010 and amounting to Br 118,000) before the end of the year. However wages will be adjusted in accordance with the inflation rate. In addition, the government intends to make a one-time payment to low-income retirees.

Comment

These solutions aim to reduce the supply of money and obligations to the Anti-Crisis Fund of the EurAsEc. These actions of the Government and the National Bank will certainly have a desired effect however they will not provide with a sharp reduction of money supply and will not save budget from the deficit. Another unpleasant decision the authorities should make in the very near future is to raise tariffs for housing utilities.

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Belarusian authorities attempt to depoliticise education system
August 21, 2017 10:55
Image: TUT.BY

The Belarusian authorities are attempting to strengthen some elements of the ‘Soviet’ education to ensure the ideological loyalty of new generations to the state. Most likely, one of the major tasks of the educational reform is to prevent growing discontent with the existing education system among the population. The educational reform aims to strengthen centralisation and adjust the system to the needs of the public sector.

In Belarus, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Economy would determine the university enrolment figures.

The Belarusian authorities do not seem to have a long-term vision of the educational reform. The education system changes depending on who leads the Education Ministry and has access to President Lukashenka. For instance, former head of pro-government communist party and Education Minister Igor Karpenko reintroduced some "Soviet" elements to the school and strengthened ideological components along with the de-politicisation of the curricula. Current generation of students and youth have not spoken against the authorities, unlike previous generations raised during the Gorbachev thaw and socio-political transformations of the 1990s.

In addition, the Belarusian authorities are attempting to adopt measures aiming to prevent discontent among the population with the Belarusian education system. The authorities are mobilizing those nostalgic for the USSR and propose to return to 5-marks grading system, school uniforms and reduced curriculum. The Belarusian leadership also aims to blur the growing social stratification in society and to relax social tension due to the growing income gap between the richest and poorest.

Should the authorities adopt plans to reduce university enrolment, they would re-certify universities in order to close some of them and would reduce competition from private educational institutions. The Belarusian leadership is attempting to adjust the education system to the needs of the real economy, to reduce pressure on the labour market and to cut government spending on higher education for specialists low in demand by replacing them with graduates of secondary vocational schools requiring less time to train.