Warehouse stocks still high, government orders are unrealistic
Persistent demands by the president and government to unload warehouses lead to statistics being manipulated and reductions in stock being reported on paper only by enterprises. Warehouses cannot be unloaded because the president and government are demanding for production volumes to increase while demand for Belarusian products is falling.
In October 2013, stocks increased by BYR 1031.5 billion. As of November 1st stocks were worth BYR 29.11 trillion or USD 3.16 billion. Since January 2013 stocks increase was worth USD 570 million. It was anticipated that on January 1st, 2014 the stocks’ worth would be no more than on January 1st, 2013.
Moreover, the real situation with stocks is worse than official statistics suggests. Enterprises use various ways to demonstrate that their stocks have reduced. Stocks are distributed among retailers. Stocks are sent off for secure storage to other regions or to dealer’s warehouses in Russia. Another way is to use the term ‘incomplete production’ in the reports, when an almost-finished product is not in working condition and so is not reported as stock (popular in mechanical engineering).
Stocks built up due to economic miscalculations by the authorities both, for domestic and foreign markets. The situation is aggravated by the existence of quantitative production plans adopted by the central government. The government holds enterprises responsible for not fulfilling these plans, while it is the government which drafts these unrealistic economic plans. As a result, enterprises start cooking the books, because the government is not ready to adjust its plans.
Thus, the government refuses to accept the current market changes and shifts the responsibility for the failure to meet the projected indicators to enterprises. The government should reconsider its policy and pay more attention to quantitative indicators, not qualitative.
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.