Meeting to discuss Belarus’ social and economic development

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  • 21:40

Belarus has recently got under unprecedented external pressure but managed to maintain its economic growth, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a government meeting to discuss the country’s social and economic development on 3 December.

According to the head of state, issues to be discussed at the meeting are many, including the results achieved so far, the country’s economic performance in 2021 and measures of the financial and economic policy which the Council of Ministers and the National Bank suggest for the coming year.

“Our economy is under unprecedented external pressure. Aggressive rhetoric persists. This means we should conduct a thorough analysis of the measures we take,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko added that the country managed to maintain economic growth and prevent most of the problems from affecting people’s everyday life.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the results of January-October show that the country’s gross domestic product increased by 2.4%. There is a 7.1% increase in industrial output virtually in all subindustries.

More than 60% of Belarusian products are exported. Belarus is ranked 46th out of 152 countries in the Competitive Industrial Performance Index. This data was provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the head of state explained.

“In this regard, the export of goods and services increased by nearly 33%, the country got additional $8.5 billion. There is a record-high foreign trade surplus – more than $2.7 billion,” the president said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, thanks to balanced macroeconomic policy there is a good balance of payments in the country, i.e. the sustainable course and stability on the financial market.

There is a stable growth in the average salary. It October it was close to Br1,500. Every forth worker in the country is paid more than this. The share of such workers was only 16% last year.

However, the President remarked that there are still many pending issues in the country. But 90% of them have emerged due to external factors. The President spoke about certain negative trends. “This if all, this pertains to prices,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

It is for the first time in several years that the inflation level was above the forecast level of 5%. Prices for socially important goods went up almost 7% on average. “We have not overcome this trend,” the head of state said. “Prices for certain good of prime necessity increased by 10-100%.”

Manufacturers of socially important goods and trade outlets have found loopholes allowing them to get around restrictions and raise prices. The President asked the prime minister and the chairman of the board of the National Bank to focus on this issue in their reports.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, there are many factors of price hikes in the country, and he wants explanations. “Indeed, the inflation level has been influenced by external factors to a certain extent. Of course, Belarus has the open economy. The country imports iron, metals, raw materials and other parts and to pay more for them. They did not work during the pandemic and printed many dollars and euros. This resulted in inflation growth. There are external factors, no one denies it. But we should not relax and say that we have higher prices because of higher prices in America, Russia, China or elsewhere,” the head of state said.

According to the President, price factors should affect the situation in 2022. “There are many other issues, from the risks from the expansion of the so-called sanctions which the West regularly calls for to the danger of the pandemic spread, this mutating virus,” he said. “This is an additional burden on the overloaded social security fund and the healthcare industry in general.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked if the country is ready to cope with these risks, if forecast documents are adapted to existing challenges, what systemic approaches are used by the government to prevent the negative impact from unfriendly activities and to promote the development of the country in general.

“There was a proposal to step aside from certain parameters determined at the 6th Belarusian People’s Congress. There is no unilateral opinion on this matter. But we need a unilateral opinion. Therefore, let’s discuss all the pros and cons. These issues have been raised by our MPs, the State Secretariat if the Security Council, and the State Control Committee,” the Belarusian leader added.