IMF to take preliminary stock
Preliminary assessment by the IMF experts of the implemented and projected arrangements of the Belarusian economic policy, looks little promising. Most likely, at this stage talks about a new IMF loan to Belarus will end in vain.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission is expected to arrive in Belarus in the second half of February. The IMF Resident Representative in Belarus Natalia Koliadina said, the IMF mission will revise Belarus’ macroeconomic forecast for 2012 and the following five years, review the recent economic policies and analyze economic policy arrangements for 2012.
The IMF permanent representative in Belarus Natalia Koliadina said that the IMF experts could not discover sources that would allow Belarus to increase its GDP by 5.5% in 2012. Mrs. Koliadina also expressed concern about attempts of the authorities to resume administrative control of the economy.
The IMF Resident Representative referred to tightening of the monetary and fiscal policies as positive measures implemented by the Belarusian authorities. According to the IMF, “for the first time one of the main objectives of the monetary policy is to reduce inflation”. However, unjustified increases of incomes for the population, without proper adjustment with the level of production growth, could result in the unwinding of the inflationary spiral. Mrs. Koliadina also pointed out that funding of state programmes via commercial banks still continued, regardless of the creation of the Development bank, which funded the majority of the programmes.
Mrs. Koliadina refrained from comments on the negotiation process for a new loan to Belarus. “I have no new information about the intentions of the Belarusian authorities in this regard”, she said. In 2009-2010 the IMF Stand-by programme was implemented in Belarus, when it received a USD 3.6 billion loan. In December 2011 Alexander Lukashenko said he would not oppose to having a new loan from the IMF in the amount of USD 2.5 -5 billion.
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.