New social contract raises costs for Belarusian population

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March 27, 2017 11:53

While visiting the Grodno region last week, President Lukashenka said that citizens should seek jobs on their own, while the state would help them. The president has put several mutually contradicting tasks before the government, the National Bank and regional authorities: to ensure a USD 500 monthly wage (i.e. an increase by almost one-half) by the year-end, to ensure full employment by April 1st, and to ensure the Belarusian rouble stability and prevent its devaluation. The president finally defined the main purpose of the decree on social dependants as an ideological tool to ensure maximum employment while reducing people’s demands vis-a-vis the state. The authorities are likely to suspend layoffs at enterprises temporarily until the protest activity comes to a full stop, and provide low paid public works at the expense of local budget to all those looking for jobs. According to the authorities, high employment and financial prosecution of the unemployed would relax tension in society, discontent with current social and economic policies and would deprive street protests of a broad social base.

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