Belarus’ social and economic development program for 2016-2020 enacted

    Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko enacted the national social and economic development program for 2016-2020.

    The program has been prepared by the government on the basis of the main provisions the fifth Belarusian People’s Congress had approved earlier.

    The document gives an assessment of development of the national economy in 2011-2015 in addition to formulating goals, tasks, priorities and expected results of the country’s social and economic development in 2016-2020.

    Along with preserving the continuity of the current policy and the basic foundations of the Belarusian development model the document offers new instruments and mechanisms of implementing the economic policy.

    The main goal of the national social and economic development program is to raise living standards of Belarusians by bolstering the competitive ability of the economy, raising investments, and securing innovation-driven development. For the sake of reaching this goal the document sets priorities taking into account the existing global trends. All the domestic and external resources and efforts of the entire power vertical will be harnessed to secure these priorities.

    The document views investments as a tool to renew technologies in basic industries and bring about new innovative branches of the national economy.

    Using the available manpower in new high-production jobs effectively as a way to tap the labor potential and secure social stability is the second priority.

    Export is viewed as the third priority. Export will be the focal point of the efforts aimed at ensuring balanced economic development.

    The growth of the competitive ability will be propelled by innovation-driven development, financial rehabilitation of the real sector of the national economy, the reduction of all kinds of costs, and by a higher contribution of small and medium private companies. The efforts will be tightly connected with the Informatization and Youth priorities of the five-year development plan.

    Informatization is expected to make a systemic contribution to the development of the high-tech branch of the national economy in addition to facilitating the transition to a digital economy and enabling a favorable institutional environment and a favorable business environment.

    Young Belarusians are expected to play the decisive role in enabling the country’s transition from industrial development to innovation-driven development and an economy of knowledge. This is why the 2016-2020 social and economic development program provides for a complex expansion of the available youth incentives.

    The document also lays down performance targets for individual industries while emphasizing the accelerated development of new high-tech sectors of the economy.

    Apart from that, development vectors of the country’s regions are determined. The document underlines the more pronounced role of the regions in forming growth centers. Measures of the investment policy, innovation policy, fiscal policy, monetary management policy, and foreign trade policy are explained.

    The economic policy will still take care of social security. Healthcare, education, science, culture and sport services will remain affordable and accessible for Belarusian citizens regardless of their place of residence. Measures will be taken to improve the targeted and individualized nature of state support.

    Measures will be taken to slow down rising prices for home construction. One square meter of housing will be commensurate with the country’s average salary in 2020.

    The social security of working Belarusians will be improved by annually setting the minimal salary as large as the minimal average consumer budget for one person in a family of four.

    Apart from that, new instruments and mechanisms for implementing the economic policy have been determined. The emancipation of the business initiatives is worth mentioning as well as the improvement of ownership relations, auditing activities, and the enabling of real conditions for improving business operation terms.

    In a bid to fulfill the tasks the program outlines the central government will have to develop a set of measures to implement the program. The set of measures will include all the directions of the economic policy and the social one. The implementation of the planned measures will secure the structural improvement and a better competitive ability of the national economy in addition to steady economic growth on a balanced foundation.

    In particular, the gross domestic product growth rate in 2016-2020 is expected to be 112.1-115%. The figure is twice as high as the target set for the previous five-year term (105.9%). As the indicator of domestic balance inflation will be kept under 5% by the end of the five-year term. Belarus is expected to secure a steady foreign trade surplus as from 2017 as an indicator of external balance.

    Meanwhile, in 2020 the growth rate of real disposable income of Belarusians will have to reach 109.5-111.6% in comparison with 2015.