The Belarusian system of governance faces staff shortage
The number of reports in the Belarusian media about the staffing shortage in the government, associated with low salaries in the public administration, has increased.
The devaluation of the national currency in 2011 dropped the wages in the public administration to being among the lowest by the end of 2011 – Br 2.15 million, which is less than in the field of science (Br 2.65 million), education (Br 2.58 million) and healthcare (Br 2.6 million). It had an impact on the prestige of the public services and on the staff outflow. In January - September 2011 more than 12% of employees of the Office of the Council of Ministers have resigned.
The emerging new institutions within the Common Economic Space also affect the outflow of qualified management personnel. For instance, the Eurasian Economic Commission announced a competition for managerial positions (to be filled by July 2012), which is supervised by the Belarusian Government. The creation of the Eurasian Parliament of Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan is being discussed at the level of Russian Presidential Administration. This initiative was well received by the Belarusian House of Representatives, which expressed readiness to expand cooperation between the parliamentary delegations.
All these processes will negatively impact on the loyalty of civil servants to the Belarusian system of governance: similar to the labor migration from Belarus, officials will also “vote with their feet”. So far the government failed to invent a more effective way to counteract such trend, than pay increases. However, a number of commitments undertaken by the authorities on the economic policy, inter alia, cooperation within the Anti-Crisis Fund of the EurAsEC, will make implementation of these measures particularly difficult.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.