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19 Sep 2017

Belarus’ central bank comments on de-dollarization proposal

MINSK, 19 September (BelTA) – Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Sergei Kalechits made a few comments on 19 September in response to the proposal to stop using prices in foreign currencies in commercial contracts, BelTA has learned.

The official noted that the central bank works hard to reduce the use of U.S. dollars in the Belarusian economy. “Due to a number of circumstances U.S. dollars are used quite a lot in Belarus. The foreign currency is used as a savings instrument and a payment instrument. A number of commercial entities and a number of branches of the national economy have been allowed to use foreign currency as a means of payment. We understand that in order to bolster the role of the national currency and stop using foreign ones it is primarily necessary to stabilize the national currency. Everything is being done for this purpose today. We see results of this work,” he said.

The official pointed out that there is another side to the efforts to reduce the use of U.S. dollars. “We will stop using permits, giving preferences to companies and industries, which can use foreign currencies now. We are working on it. Ideally it is necessary to stop using foreign currencies across the board, including setting prices in foreign currencies. The relevant initiative is under consideration. It cannot be implemented in one go. It needs to be thoroughly discussed. On the whole, we believe it would be wise to consider such an intuitive,” stressed Sergei Kalechits.

Apart from plans to reduce foreign currency usage there are plans to liberalize foreign currency regulations. Commercial entities should be able to freely buy and sell foreign currency for foreign trade purposes. Plans have been made to gradually phase out compulsory sales of foreign currency and make foreign currency purchasing easier by no longer requiring buyers to specify for what purpose they buy foreign currency. “It cannot be implemented in one day. The matter requires complicated legislative decisions and a stronger economic foundation,” stated the official.

Sergei Kalechits went on saying that all the measures to liberalize foreign currency regulations in Belarus are supposed to run their course by 2020. There are plans to scrap compulsory sales of foreign currency as early as 2018.


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