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2 Feb 2018

EU to earmark €3m for project to support Belarus’ economic policy

MINSK, 2 February (BelTA) - The European Union will allocate €3 million for the project to support the economic policy of Belarus, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin said during the presentation of this project, BelTA has learned.

The European Union considers the development of the Belarusian economy as an area of shared interest and provides support to the country in achieving the economic progress. This project will help Belarusian citizens take advantage of sustained economic growth and low inflation, will lead to the expansion of market opportunities, create secure jobs and better mechanisms of social security,” Andrea Wiktorin said.

The EU will earmark €3 million for the project which will involve the World Bank and which will be running in 2018-2020. The head of the EU delegation reported that the project worth €3 million is just a part of the technical cooperation program which will facilitate the economic transformations in Belarus. Total funding for the program will amount to $6 million.

Within the framework of the project to support the economic policy of Belarus, the World Bank will provide consulting assistance to the Belarusian government. The project will comprise five components: strengthening public financial management system, ensuring the stability of the banking sector, improving the efficiency of enterprises, protecting vulnerable households and developing market institutions.

Belarus will receive the support from the World Bank in matters of policy changes needed to increase the income of Belarusian citizens, said Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. “We are ready to provide our expertise and experience in those aspects of the policies which are essential for stimulating the economic growth,” she noted.

According to her, the component to strengthen the public finance management system will include an analysis of public expenditure. “We plan to conduct an analysis that will be presented in the form of a report on public expenditure. The second component involves the monitoring of banking activities, resolving issues of troubled banks, supervising banking activities. The third component is aimed at the enterprises sector. We will consider the entire range of operating enterprises but pay primary attention to state-run enterprises. The fourth component will include the development of social support mechanisms for the most vulnerable segments of the population. The last component will focus on facilitating the operation of different markets. Here we mean the promotion of competition and the development of institutions that will work for the benefit of the labor market,” Satu Kahkonen said.

According to the World Bank representative, the priorities of the program were outlined by the Belarusian government. “It is a dynamic process and changes may be added to the project. This is a two-way street. It is very important to remember this. The government will initiate proposals, we will discuss them with the EU and then find joint solutions,” she said.

Commenting on the component to improve the efficiency of state enterprises, Satu Kahkonen stressed that the project is not aimed at privatizing state enterprises. “We will promote the processes of improving corporate governance, focus on improving the efficiency of these companies. Perhaps this will require some restructuring and efforts to outline the areas that will help these enterprises prosper,” she said, adding that there is no specific list of enterprises to work with. The government of Belarus will decide on such enterprises.


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