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14 May 2020

PM: Belarus would like to join forces with EBRD to tackle negative impacts of pandemic

PM: Belarus would like to join forces with EBRD to tackle negative impacts of pandemic
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MINSK, 14 May (BelTA) - Belarus would like to join forces with the EBRD to tackle the negative impacts of the pandemic, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas during a videoconference meeting with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti on 14 May, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus is interested in joining efforts with the bank to deal with the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Sergei Rumas said.

He stressed that the current epidemiological situation has affected many plans and previously set goals. “On the other hand, it is a significant test of strength for the economies of all countries. The Belarusian government has crafted measures to respond to the pandemic, which include strengthening the healthcare and social protection systems, supporting the real economy sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises,” the prime minister noted. “The implementation of these measures will require the mobilization of significant financial resources. Accordingly, the support of the EBRD, including within the framework of the solidarity package, is of particular interest to Belarus. We are grateful to the Bank for its willingness to support us at such a difficult time,” Sergei Rumas said.

The government sees the need to expand the channels of support for the real economy sector through the country's financial institutions. “We are grateful to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the readiness to start cooperation with Belarusbank and Belagroprombank under the trade finance program. This is a good start. I hope, however, that in the future the EBRD will open direct credit lines for these banks to support small and medium-sized business. We also seek the current credit lines for Belinvestbank and Bank Dabrabyt to be expanded,” Sergei Rumas said.

The PM suggested that the EBRD consider options to reduce the cost of funding to provide more affordable loans to the real economy sector. “The government is  ready to roll out additional protective measures to reduce the cost of borrowing. I am sure that we will be able to find compromise solutions,” the prime minister said.

“Our big companies such as the Belarusian Railways, Minsk National Airport and others are interested in attracting the floating capital promptly. In the current situation prompt provision of financing is of crucial importance for them,” Sergei Rumas said.

The EBRD is a multilateral bank fostering the development of the private sector and entrepreneurship initiatives in 38 economies on three continents. In 2019 the EBRD set a new record in its operation in Belarus: the bank invested over €390 million in 24 projects in the private sector and the public one.

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