USD 90 billion for the rescue of Belarusian industry
To create 400,000 high-performance workplaces and their modernization the government needs to find USD 90 billion. However closer analysis of the adopted Industrial Development Programme suggests that this project will not be fully implemented due to insufficient funding and conflicting objectives and actions.
A Belarusian Industry Development Programme till 2020 has been approved by the Council of Ministers’ regulation No 622 on July 5th, 2012.
Funding is the core of any project. Appendix 4, Programme’s Funding Sources divides funding sources into 4 groups. Apparently, projected funding from the national budget, as well as from enterprises’ own funds is realistic, while projected foreign investment volumes are not achievable. For instance, it is planned to attract USD 3 billion of FDIs in 2012. During the first half of 2012, the National Statistics Committee data says, only USD 150 million of investment in fixed assets has been attracted. The planned merger within “Rosbelavto” holding will not achieve the projected figures either.
The Programme declares geographic and commodity diversification of exports. In 2011 34% of Belarus’ exports were to Russia. Simultaneously, the Programme’s very first paragraph speaks about the intensification of economic relations with Russia in order to maintain traditional markets.
Commodity diversification involves changes in the share of mineral products exports from 36% in 2011 to 21% in 2020 mainly due to the increase in the share of machinery equipment and vehicles exports. It is assumed that “Belarusian Autoworks” will increase its share in the global market by one third and the shares of harvesters sales in the global market will grow by 50%. Apparently, these calculations are based on hopes that the world’s producers will give up their market shares without opposition to Belarus.
Thus, the industrial development plan in question looks rather like a sci-fi story, not a real action plan and for this reason will not be implemented in full. At the same time, some parts of the plan could nevertheless be implemented.
The Belarusian authorities could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.