Myasnikovich visits Azerbaijan
On 7-8 July a governmental delegation headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. During the visit the Prime Minister met with President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade, inter alia with other officials and business representatives.
The Belarusian government and Prime Minister Myasnikovich continue gaining political weight and effectively assumed the functions of the Foreign Ministry. Each new foreign visit, organized by a team of Myasnikovich, serves to improve the international confidence in the government, which is carefully transformed into a major center of the country’s negotiations with the East. Bearing in mind the fact that Belarus hopes to come out of financial crisis with the assistance of foreign financial aid, the improvement of international credibility will result in increased domestic political impact of the Prime Minister’s new team.
While organizing the visit to Azerbaijan, press service of the government has particularly emphasized that the visit was taking place following an invitation of the Azerbaijani side, thereby the PM team sets off its bargaining authority against the Administration. The development of the Eastern policy by the government is a particularly positive move against the background of the de facto international isolation of Lukashenko and of his closest colleagues in the Presidential Administration. Development of the Eastern policy is virtually the only available direction, given visa ban on the majority of them.
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.