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from 28.08.2018

The Council of Ministers session

The 2019 budget expenditure will be based on revenue, Belarus' Prime Minister Sergei Roumas said at a government meeting to discuss the draft social and economic development forecast, monetary policy and budget for 2019 and the new draft of the Tax Code in Minsk on 28 August.

“With regard to the budget, the fundamental requirement that it is balanced remains in place. We cannot spend more than we earn. There will be no expenditures that are not based on revenue in the budget,” Sergei Roumas said.

In 2019 we will have a two-scenario approach to forecasting and budget. The budget will be based on a baseline scenario of economic development. Should the economy generate more income, we will make proposals to the head of state to invest additional income where it is most needed, the prime minister noted.

The government meeting is the final element in the first phase of the work to prepare a package of documents before sending them to the head of state. In accordance with the budget code, it should be done before 1 September. The whole package of the forecast documents was thoroughly reviewed and generally approved at a meeting of the government presidium just over a month ago. All the issues were finalized by the government bodies concerned. An agreement on the key issues was reached during today's meeting.

Sergei Roumas noted that the package of documents takes account of the recent changes such as adjusted estimates for oil prices, economic growth and exchange rates in the countries which are the main foreign trade partners of Belarus. This required some clarification of the main forecast parameters in all documents.

Fulfilling the parameters of the social and economic development program for 2016-2020 remains a priority. Therefore, the meeting will focus on the relevance of the forecast documents for the five-year plan and possible bottlenecks. The agenda of the meeting also includes progress made in reaching the priority goals of the social and economic development program for 2016-2020 (investments, exports and employment).

According to him, it is inadmissible to assign performance targets to private companies. Sergei Roumas said: “It is not a new matter, yet it is a bit out of focus, although it is very important to me. It applies to everyone present, first of all, the oblast governors. I mean the clause of the draft presidential decree, which forbids assigning performance targets to the private sector and assigning targets other than those set by the central government.”

The same provision is part of the effective presidential decree on Belarus’ social and economic development in 2018. However, the practical situation is a bit different. “Municipal government agencies fail to observe the decree’s requirements. They assign performance targets to all kinds of companies, including privately owned ones,” stated the prime minister.

The head of government also reminded that the performance of heads of town, city, and district administrations is judged by the number of jobs they create in accordance with Belarus president decree No.78. This is why the oblast governors will have to organize things together with the heads of town, city, and district administrations in compliance with the effective legislation, primarily decisions made by the head of state.

Sergei Roumas asked First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Turchin to keep an eye on these matters considering the fact he is the head of the Entrepreneurship Development Council.