Session to discuss 2016 draft budget and monetary policy guidelines

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The parameters envisaged in the social and economic development forecast should be determined and fulfilled taking into account the interests of the population, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the session held on 7 December to discuss the 2016 draft budget and monetary policy guidelines.

The head of state remarked that the session is focused on the targets for the coming year which will start a new five-year period, a new era in the development of the country. “This will be the year of tough budget restrictions. We need to ensure macroeconomic stability and fulfill all obligations to people. As we have promised, a person is a priority in the economy, as well as healthcare, education, and social protection. We are building the economy of knowledge. It means that science and cutting-edge technologies are our priorities too,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The participants of the session analyzed the current economic situation. On the whole, the country has maintained stability in the economy. The country honors all the state liabilities and foreign currency debts in time and in full. Yet the state of affairs in many industrial enterprises remains complicated. Negative trends have emerged in agriculture and trade. The civil engineering industry is underperforming. Export is falling. Investments have shrunk.

The President said he believes that external factors certainly play their negative part, however, these factors should not be blamed for everything. “There are a lot of domestic reserves, which are poorly used for reducing the prime cost of products, introducing new technologies, and for managing enterprises,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “I can estimate the impact effect of external factors at 100% and the impact effect of domestic factors at 30% at least.”

“Belarus is a sovereign country. Therefore, we are, first of all, responsible for the resolution of existing issues. The results of work, the efficiency of trade and the efforts to promote products on the domestic and foreign markets depend on us,” the President remarked.

Among the economic priorities for the next year the head of state mentioned export growth, efforts to bolster the positions of Belarusian manufacturers on the home market, the introduction of new technologies, and the reduction of prime costs. The President made it clear that no layoffs for the sake of reducing prime costs will be allowed. Optimization is necessary, yet new jobs should be created at the same time.

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko warned the government against the experiments in the economy. Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that the Belarusian economy is absolutely competitive in terms of prices and quality. “There are no wonders, in the crisis time we cannot, even if we want to, create the new economy. It means that we cannot give up on machine building and start producing space equipment. We cannot do it and we do not need it. We have good people, education, and the industrial school. We just need to step up our efforts,” the head of state stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko urged the governors to create the most favorable conditions for investors and step up efforts to curb inflation. The country managed ti reduce inflation, but it is not enough. “It is necessary to work harder to reduce inflation to one-digit figures. Then we will have macroeconomic stability and conditions for reducing interest rates on loans,” the President said.

The President gave instructions to assign performance indicators to all the economic operators and executives concerned. For instance, the number of created jobs will be a performance indicator for heads of oblast administrations and district administrations. Performance indicators will be evaluated on a quarterly basis.

During the session, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko approved the draft social and economic development forecast, the draft state budget, and the draft monetary management policy for 2016 for the most part. The documents will be polished for the next few days to present the final versions to the head of state.