Regional Economies Report “Small, but Stable” Development
Early 2013 regional political and economic agenda was focusing on summarizing the results and approval of future plans. The only excitement was caused by the working visits top officials, who set tasks in terms of modernization and foreign investment.
In January-February, economic performance results in 2012 were summarized. At the Council of Ministers meeting on February 13th, Prime Minister Myasnikovich said that Belarus in 2012 managed to achieve ‘balanced economy’. Nevertheless, four of the twelve most important projected economic parameters have not been met. GDP growth rate was 101.5% (forecast 105-105.5%), industrial production growth rate - 105.7% (forecast 106-107%), net foreign direct investment – USD 1.2 billion (forecast USD 3.7 billion). Myasnikovich emphasized that the overall results were significantly affected by ‘flaws’ in performances of Minsk city and Brest region. Thus, Minsk fell short of added value by BYR 11.7 trillion and Brest region by BYR 2.2 trillion.
The greatest discrepancy concerned the balance of foreign trade in goods and services. Voiced by the National Statistics Committee in January, the figure was negative – “minus” USD 417 million. In February the National Bank’s Statistical Report provided a different figure – “plus” USD 2 915.1 million.
On February 15th Foreign Minister Makey said that Belarus in 2012 fulfilled the projected parameters for the balance of foreign trade in goods and services, regardless of the international “pressure” and the volatile situation in the world economy.
In the regions, the only excitement was caused by the working visits top officials, who set tasks in terms of modernization, foreign investment and other issues. Thus, Prime Minister Myasnikovich inspected Grodno region construction industry, in particular, the Ostrovetsk NPP construction site.
In late January, Industry Minister Dmitry Katerinich toured Vitebsk region with inspections. While visiting a number of local businesses, he expressed serious concerns about modernization progmramme progress. He assessed investments in modernization as insufficient and said that local authorities tried to reduce all activities to “campaigning”. In addition, he pointed to the poor performance by enterprises, which had already completed their “modernization”.
On February 12th, Russian Vice-Premier Dvorkovich, accompanied by Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Semashko visited Grodno and Gomel regions, where they discussed the prospects of industrial cooperation at Grodno Azot and Gomselmash facilities.