Wage arrears in 2016 may exceed maximum values of 2015
According to the National Statistics Committee, on January 1st, 2016, 141 Belarusian organization had wage arrears to workers with a total worth of BYR 60.5 billion. In December 2015, wage arrears diminished due to the allocation of budgetary funds and settlement of government contracts in the economy. Wage arrears are likely to grow due budget austerity measures; some enterprises will keep a short working week due to the lack of orders and insufficient funds to pay wages to workers. Workers are likely to file more appeals to the state authorities complaining about wage arrears and payment delays by their employers. In 2015, the maximum value of overdue loans totalled BYR 411,7 billion; in 2016, this value is likely to be exceeded as a result of further deterioration of the situation in the industry and deterioration of settlements between enterprises.
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.