Meeting to discuss planned amendments to laws on banking activity
The planned amendments to the laws on banking activity became the topic of a government meeting hosted by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 7 February.
“The topic of today's meeting is the further improvement of the banking legislation,” the head of state said as he opened the meeting. “As usual, the first question is what for and who needs it today?”
The President stressed that the country cannot follow the way of recommendations, given, figuratively speaking, in the last century. For example, a recommendation that banks should be a state within a state, totally independent. “There is nothing independent in the world. Everybody depends on each other – institutions, organizations and so on. Our banking system has enough freedom not to lag behind and work together with the government on the economy,” said the Belarusian leader.
There was a time when the National Bank and other banks were considered the so-called accounting department of the government, said Aleksandr Lukashenko. Today the banking system and the banks are the lifeblood of the economy, without which it cannot function effectively and fully. “We have to be very attentive to make sure that we do not have imbalances,” the head of state said.
According to the President, the consideration of the legislation changes at the meeting does not mean that the banking system operates poorly and its regulatory framework requires a radical revision. “Amid the sanctions the banks showed stability and ensured the safety of savings, payments and accumulation of resources for lending,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “Last year, thanks to the coordination of actions of the National Bank and the government, it was possible to accelerate the reorientation of exports, to support companies with working capital and finance the most important investment projects for the country.”
“The interests of depositors are safely protected in Belarus. Belarus is almost the only country in the world, which guarantees full repayment of deposits regardless of the size and currency in case of economic insolvency of a bank,” the President said.
Yet, life goes on. There are new challenges in money laundering, and cyber-fraud is becoming more sophisticated. Along with negative factors there are some positive ones: technologies are developing, a new system of mutual settlements is taking shape, including in international trade. “In short, time is ripe for changes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“I believe that new powerful monetary unions with a new reserve currency will emerge soon,” he added.
The President stated that Belarus had timely agreed with Russia on the alignment of the banking legislation in the interests of business entities. “Roman Aleksandrovich [Golovchenko, Prime Minister], we have to work with the Russian Federation in the banking system in the interests of business entities,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
“I have also instructed the state administration and monitoring bodies to analyze the work of the banking system and make their proposals for adjusting the banking legislation,” the head of state said. “Some of the innovations have already been tested in practice. As we have agreed, the National Bank adds its recommendations and offers to implement them on a systematic basis within the legal framework. Only the things that we need. Yet, I have decided to invite you, experts, to make sure once again that we will benefit from the novelties. After all, a fundamental normative legal act is being considered. People need to know what changes are planned. We need to see whether there are still any issues to be addressed."
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is a social state and the rules of economic activity should be based on the principles of social justice, equally and unambiguously interpreted and unconditionally complied with. “There are no exceptions for some areas, including the banking one, and there will not be any. The regulator should have all the necessary levers of influence in the financial sector, including the ones to punish negligent banks,” the Belarusian leader said.
Today, it is of particular importance that all branches of government and government agencies work in close coordination, the President is convinced. “Only together can we ensure the mobilization of resources in the most important areas of sustainable economic development,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “The banks and the National Bank, as the regulator of the country’s banking system, should play the key role here.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko addressed a number of key questions to the participants of the meeting: “How will the novelties affect the work of the banking system? Do they meet the demands of our citizens and the national economy? Will we address all the issues of the Union State integration agenda in the part of the banking sector with the updated code?”