Report of NBRB Chairman of Board Pavel Kallaur, Presidential Aide Valery Belsky

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko received a report of Chairman of the Board of the National Bank Pavel Kallaur and Presidential Aide Valery Belsky on 15 January.

The President said that in the near future, in the run-up to the Belarusian People’s Congress, last year’s financial and economic performance will be discussed with senior members of the government. “Therefore, I would like to focus today on the key points of the National Bank’s operation,” he said.

“The inflation rate was slightly higher than what we had planned. I would like to hear an explanation in this regard. I read and hear banalities. But I would like to dig deeper into this problem. Price stability is a number one matter. There is no escaping it. This is about lives of our people,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The head of state was also interested in the situation with gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Speaking about the state of affairs in the banking sector, Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Pavel Kallaur for keeping things under control during the difficult time. "We can even describe this period as very challenging. In other countries, the banking system was simply collapsing. We have not only kept the situation under control but created an environment that keeps the economy going," the Belarusian leader said.

“Let's be frank, the economy must grow. When there is economy, there is a banking system, up and running. If there is no economy, there will be no banking system. And people won't have any money. This is why the economy is above all,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Without the economy, there will be no finances. It is clear that there must be a reasonable balance. It is clear that we need to avoid irrecoverable loans. They are long gone and will not be back. Everyone should understand this perfectly. But, nevertheless, we need to find the possibility of lending to the real sector of the economy in the first place.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus needs to learn to confront the sanctions pressure. “You need to understand that all sorts of sanctions are purely political things. There are no grounds for them. We have done nothing to be targeted by sanctions. We have always been under such pressure however. We need to learn to confront it. This is probably the third or fourth round of their attempts to destroy the economy and our statehood. We must take a broader look at the world. The world does not mean the EU only,” the Belarusian leader said.

“They also understand that about 3,000 companies of various types depend on Belarus' economy in varying extent. No one wants Belarus to collapse, because this will create certain problems for the European Union itself. We need to work with everybody, both Europeans and Americans. There is also the Asian market which also provides a lot of opportunities,” said the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized the importance of attracting financial resources and asked about the progress made on this front.