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5 Feb 2019

Concern over ineffective use of idle state properties in Belarus

Concern over ineffective use of idle state properties in Belarus

MINSK, 5 February (BelTA) – All the out-of-use state property assets should be made part of economic turnover in an effective manner. Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas made the statement at a session of the Council of Ministers’ Presidium, BelTA has learned.

The work to make unused properties part of economic turnover is done in line with presidential decree No.294. The Council of Ministers’ Presidium authorizes a list of such properties every year. “The head of state has repeatedly stated it is necessary to effectively use all properties, convert them into high-income assets or make them part of the economy in other ways, including by selling to another owner for the sake of starting a new business and creating new jobs. It is the main goal in the government’s work with property and corresponds to the priorities and tasks set by the national social and economic development program for 2016-2020,” said Sergei Rumas.

According to official statistics, over 2.26 million m2 of state-owned property was out of use in Belarus as of late 2018. The figure represents about 2% of all the state-owned real estate. “Apart from missed revenues and budget losses owners of these premises have to spend extra on the upkeep of such assets,” stressed the prime minister.

In 2018 government agencies tried to make 2,870 properties part of economic turnover. Over 3,000 auctions were held to sell state properties. Over 1,500 assets were available for sale, with the initial price consequently decreased. “As many as 658 properties were sold. As many as 440 properties failed to find a customer even with the initial price set as low as one base amount,” Sergei Rumas said. He praised the performance of the Communications and Informatization Ministry and the Defense Ministry. He said the Energy Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry did some serious work in this field. The best results were achieved in the city of Minsk, Brest Oblast, and Gomel Oblast. Vitebsk Oblast managed to do less than half of the required work. As much as 62% of the plan to make unused properties part of economic turnover was fulfilled in 2018, up from 60% in 2017. Sergei Rumas attributed poor progress to a number of reasons starting with the low demand for the properties available via the auctions and ending with the complicated procedure for preparing the assets for auctions. “A lot of work was done, but, unfortunately, the overall result leaves much to be desired,” noted Sergei Rumas.

The prime minister pointed out that there is a strong demand for assets for small and medium business. “All the necessary instruments for working well are available: the right to sell properties for one base amount, the right to hand over properties for free. However, not all [government agencies] use these instruments to accomplish the main tasks: creation of new jobs, generation of added value, generation of budget revenues through economic growth and the growth of the taxable base,” added the prime minister.

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