Belarus President hears out report on road financing

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has supported the government’s proposals on road financing as he heard out a report by Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Anatoly Kalinin, Minister of Transport and Communications Anatoly Sivak and First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Amarin on 15 September.

    The President emphasized that Belarus has become much more attractive and important as a transit corridor, including due to the external factors. The head of state underlined that it is important not only to build new roads, but also to ensure good maintenance of the existing ones. This goal is to be fulfilled by a broader use of concrete. At least 10% of concrete produced in Belarus will be used for road construction and maintenance. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that it is very important as the construction of roads with concrete surfacing will allow Belarus to expand the use of local raw materials.

    The head of state reminded about the decision to build the second ring road around Minsk. This facility should be commissioned by 1 January 2017. The works on the Gomel highway should be completed by the start of 2016. “We need to think about the future – the south transit route via Kobrin and Gomel. It will be very important and relevant for Russia. We need to engage in a dialogue with Russia. If not, we should negotiate it with the World Bank, as it offers good loans,” the Belarusian leader said.

    Speaking about road construction projects, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized the need to address the financial issue. The President noted that the government should have discussed the issues and found the solutions.

    Anatoly Sivak told reporters afterwards that the President approved the suggestions put forward by the government. According to the minister, some Br11.2 trillion will be used to maintain and improve roads in Belarus in 2015, up by 40% as against 2014. “This figure takes into consideration the major instructions of the head of state,” he said.

    At the meeting with the President a decision was made to provide an additional Br300 billion on the construction of the second ring road around Minsk in 2014. The parties also discussed the allocation of Br52 billion for a bypass road near Ostrovets and $16.9 million for the Belarusian part of the project to build a highway on the Bobruisk-Zhlobin road section. Anatoly Sivak explained that the renovation of this road section will be financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. However, in order to get a loan from the Chinese bank, Belarus needs to transfer its contribution first.

    The minister informed that Belarus closely cooperates with the World Bank that provides financing for road construction projects in the country. The renovation of the Minsk-Grodno highway is to be funded by the World Bank. By now some $250 million has already been agreed. Anatoly Sivak added that Belarus might suggest increasing the amount.