Report of Belarus’ government, National Bank, oblast executive committees, Minsk City Hall

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There is a growth trend in the Belarusian economy, but there is no room for self-complacency, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he heard out a report of the government, National Bank, oblast executive committees, and the Minsk City Hall on the economic performance in 2017 and the draft social and economic development forecast for 2018.

The head of state emphasized that 2018 will be a special year. The country will need to make up for the leeway of 2016 and set out on the path of the five-year social and economic development program.

“We can see certain growth this year. There are positive signs in the key industries of the economy. The domestic foreign currency market is stable. There is a foreign trade surplus. We have augmented the gold and foreign exchange reserves; the export has been growing. Nevertheless, there can be no reasons for self-complacency. In 2015-2016, the economy shrank by 6%. We got back only 2% this year. Obviously, it is not enough,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the president, there is a reasonable question: while the GDP is on the rise why aren’t the incomes of the population growing as planned? “I do not insist on exorbitant growth, but reasonable growth is needed and it has been determined. Even within two years we have not restored the level we had at the end of the previous five-year period. Besides, there are many problems regarding the fulfillment of my instruction to raise the average salary to Br1,000. In this context, what do we propose for 2018?” the head of state asked.

Another important issue is employment. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, not everything is great there either. “The government reports on 50,000 new jobs, but at the same time the statistics says that the number of dismissed people exceeded the number of the newly employed by 43,000. This is the population of two medium-sized Belarusian regions. The number of employed people should be on the rise. All talks about macroeconomic stability make no sense without it,” the president stressed.

The participants of the session are discussing crucial documents concerning the state economic policy which will determine the country’s development next year. In particular, the Council of Ministers has approved draft decrees on Belarus’ social and economic development tagrets in 2018 and major guidelines of the country’s monetary policy in 2018, a draft law on the 2018 state budget and submitted them for consideration.

Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said that the 2018 social and economic development forecast was shaped taking into account the need to fulfill a key objective to ensure the macroeconomic and social stability amid a more active influence of the domestic demand on economic growth.