news

from 11.01.2008

A session of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus


A session of the Council of Ministers ventilated a question on the targets of the socio-economic development forecast for 2008 and a draft plan of joint action of the Government and the National Bank to achieve the parameters of the socio-economic development forecast, budget and monetary policy guidelines.

A set of measures will be taken in Belarus in 2008 to forestall inflation processes, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

He reminded, in 2008 inflation is expected to stand at 6-8% in Belarus.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, the Economy Ministry should put together a corresponding plan of actions to regulate inflation processes.

***

Belarus to take measures to forestall inflation processes in 2008

A set of measures will be taken in Belarus in 2008 to forestall inflation processes, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

He reminded, in 2008 inflation is expected to stand at 6-8% in Belarus.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, the Economy Ministry should put together a corresponding plan of actions to regulate inflation processes.

“The inflation has exceeded 10%. The inflation exceeded 2% in December 2007,” said Sergei Sidorsky and remarked upon the irresponsible attitude of oblast authorities and certain ministers towards the issue. “Unfortunately, government resolutions taken three times in 2007 in order to punish executives for failing to fulfil certain instructions concerning inflation at the local level have not been productive,” said the Belarusian head of Government.

***

Belarus Premier: individual entrepreneurs have enough money to invest in new production businesses

Individual entrepreneurs of Belarus have accumulated enough capital to invest in new production businesses, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

He remarked, small business “can and should invest the money into developing manufacturing”. New enterprises set up by entrepreneurs should be “manoeuvrable and manageable”. The head of government also called upon individual entrepreneurs to join negotiations to discuss investment projects.

***

Government of Belarus sets out socio-economic development targets for each region

The Government of Belarus has set out the socio-economic development targets for each region, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said during a session of the Council of Ministers.

According to him, this is a new element of the socio-economic development for 2008. In previous years the targets were set out only for the oblasts and the city of Minsk.

The medium-sized and small towns of the country are involved in the programme to develop small towns. Sergei Sidorsky said: “We hope that the seminar at the end of last year and the measures taken to promote the development of the regions will help reach new quality of living and boost the efficient production in these towns.”

***

Sergei Sidorsky urges more vigorous use of corporate reserves

Proprietary reserves of Belarusian companies should be used more vigorously, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

In his words, at present certain companies insufficiently use their core operations, with entire workshops abandoned in many companies and even enterprises and production buildings in some areas, especially those that were decommissioned in the 1990s.

Sergei Sidorsky said, “We have enough reserves in provinces to use the existing facilities with economic expediency in mind. If there are proposals, we are ready to redeploy some facilities of automobile and tractor works to the provinces in order to turn out an additional number of machines, tractors and mechanisms”.

***

Government of Belarus seeks to increase investments by 25% in 2008

The Government of Belarus has set an ambitious goal for 2008 of achieving a 25% investment growth, Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said during a session of the Council of Ministers.

According to him, in 2007 capital investments totaled Br20 trillion. Of them $1 billion were direct investments. The Prime Minister also noted that the Government will develop a set of system-based measures to increase the efficiency of the economy, to create the macro-economic conditions for attracting investment to Belarus. Proceeding from this, the industrial output is projected to increase by 11% in 2008 over 2007, agricultural production by 8.5% and manufacture of consumer goods by 11%. Retail trade is prognosticated to rise by 13%, paid services to the population – by 12%.

“We set these tasks to meet the ambitious parameters set out in the socio-economic development forecast of Belarus for 2008,” Sergei Sidorsky said.

***

Sergei Sidorsky wants central government, local authorities to take concrete actions to boost overseas trade

Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky has demanded that the central government and local authorities should put together a concrete plan of actions to reach this year’s targeted foreign trade deficit of $1.4 billion.

During a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11 Sergei Sidorsky remarked, the foreign trade deficit of $1.4 billion is an estimated target. “Last year we failed it,” he stated.

In order to hit the target in 2008, in November 2007 the Prime Minister tasked a commission with working out a specific plan of actions aimed at increasing export and decreasing import. “As a result, the commission produced 48 pages of general explanations, which are a scientific work with no hints what should be done to reach the goal,” said the Premier. “It won’t do”.

This year specific officials will be made responsible for hitting the target. To make it possible, a specific plan of actions the central government and local authorities need to take to reach the targeted foreign trade deficit should be worked out, underscored Sergei Sidorsky.

***

Belarus’ service industry is expected to generate extra $1bn of revenues in 2008, Sergei Sidorsky says

Belarus’ service industry is expected to generate extra $1bn of revenues in 2008, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky stated at a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

Sergei Sidorsky underlined that this sector of the economy is not efficient yet. The service industries generate over 70% of GDP in the neighbouring countries. This index in Belarus stands at 42-43%, the Head of Government stated.

“We have got enough reserves. We need to change our attitude to this economic sector,” Sergei Sidorsky underlined. Over the past years the government has created favourable legal and economic conditions for the service industry development. In 2008 the country will continue working in this direction.

***

New draft documents aim to boost foreign investments

Belarus has drafted the documents aimed at boosting foreign investments to the country, Economy Minister of Belarus Nikolai Zaichenko told a session of the Council of Ministers.

According to him, most important conditions of ensuring high economic growth is robust modernisation and expansion of production capacities of export-oriented facilities, creating new competitive manufactures. In his words, for that Belarus needs to create the conditions to attract investments, including private and foreign ones.

Nikolai Zaichenko informed, a decree “On intensifying the work on attracting direct foreign investments” provides for a set of stimulating measures in regard to profit-making companies with foreign investments which are located in the towns with a population of under 50 thousand.

A decree “On introducing amendments and addenda into several decrees of the President of the Republic of Belarus on the activity of the free economic zones” is aimed at increasing an inflow of investments in the foreign economic zones (FEZ). The document gives guarantees for the FEZ residents, improves the registration rules, extends the terms of reference of the FEZ administrations, and establishes more privileged terms in respect of rent and taxation.

A decree “On approving the list of the sites for to be given into concession” seeks to put into practice the institute of concessions.

A decree “On several measures to implement investment projects financed with the help of foreign state loans” is aimed at increasing the efficiency of the work on attracting foreign loans into real production sector.

A decree has been drafted to boost the financial market. It intends to reduce the tax on bond profits from 40% to 24%, simplify the produce of issue and circulation of bonds, placement of corporate bonds on foreign markets.

***

Cabinet, NBRB work out plan of actions to secure Belarus’ social and economic development goals for 2008

The government of Belarus and the National Bank have developed a joint plan of actions in order to secure targets of this year’s social and economic development forecast, the state budget and major monetary management guidelines, Economy Minister of Belarus Nikolai Zaichenko told a session of the Council of Ministers on January 11.

He remarked, the joint plan of actions is a list of measures aimed at creating conditions essential for securing the higher performance goals.

The main basic conditions determining the functioning of the national economy in 2008 were developed and laid down in 2007 by the 2008 Budget Law. In line with the law the tax burden on the real economy will shrink by 0.9% of the GDP. The move will free Br1 trillion, which will be spent on development.

Nikolai Zaichenko also mentioned several other factors, which can and should be used to handle the determined social and economic tasks. He reminded about decree No 108 “Certain measures for engaging unused state property into the economy”. Decree No 9, which regulates entrepreneurship in rural areas, namely by providing preferences in major parts of the business organisation and management in rural areas, contains big potential for attracting investments into rural areas. The implementation of the decree will boost agribusiness and other industries as well as services in rural areas, stressed the Minister.

Apart from that, conditions have been created to encourage entrepreneurship and attract investments, primarily to small and medium towns, through simplified land allocation procedures. The measures are laid down by decree No 667 of December 27, 2007. The document introduces simple, affordable and rapid procedures for allocating land plots to individuals. Red-tape practices are cut down, the hiding of information about available land plots and other violations are eradicated.

The Economy Minister also named several other legal acts designed to address the social and economic tasks, in particular, decrees No 7 and 8. The decrees are designed to reduce the number of documents necessary for licensing, to simplify other licensing procedures, to ensure a quality reform of state registration and liquidation of juridical persons and individual entrepreneurs.