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6 Sep 2018

Belarus’ government points to economic slowdown, hopes to end 2018 above forecast

MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) – Belarus’ government points to the country’s economic slowdown in H2 2018 but is doing its best to end the year above the projections across a number of parameters, Belarus’ Prime Minister Sergei Rumas told the media on 6 September, BelTA has learned.

“The head of state asked whether the government will fulfill the targets at the end of 2018. The Belarusian leader was informed that all major parameters determined by the forecast and the budget for 2018 will be fulfilled. The government is making all efforts to ensure that a number of indicators are above the projections. Today, the GDP growth exceeds the parameters laid out in the forecast. Although, on the other hand, in recent months (second and third quarters) we saw some slowdown in the growth which was mainly associated with external factors. Today the government is using other reserves to reverse this negative trend. All parameters will be within the approved parameters this year,” the head of government said.

“The president asked about the 2019 projections in the light of our complex relations with the Russian Federation. At a government meeting last week we reviewed the 2019 draft forecast, the draft budget and changes to the Tax Code coupled, of course, with the monetary policy guidelines. These documents are undergoing harmonization at the State Control Committee. I think that within a few days a package of documents will be submitted to the President Administration,” Sergei Rumas said.

According to him, the parameters laid out in these documents are fully in sync with the five-year program. “Meeting these parameters and also the forecast for 2020 will enable us to beat most targets we have set for the five-year period,” the prime minister said.

When asked about the current situation in the economy, Sergei Rumas noted that Belarus is an export-oriented country and depend on external factors. The weakening of the Russian ruble, which has been taking place over the past several months, affects Belarus’ foreign exchange earnings. “This is the main reason behind the economic slowdown in the second half of the year. This is, however, not the only factor, and we have many internal reserves to make the economy work more effectively,” the prime minister said.

He also mentioned the importance of the task set forth by the head of state on export diversification and the development of new markets. “We need to do this to lessen our dependency on one partner,” said Sergei Rumas.

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