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30 Jul 2019

Belarus government sets economic targets for 2020

Belarus government sets economic targets for 2020

MINSK, 30 July (BelTA) –  The Belarusian government has set economic objectives for 2020, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said at a Council of Ministers’ session to discuss economic forecast documents for next year, BelTA has learned.

“The entire package of economic forecast documents was scrutinized a week ago and approved at large at a session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. The questions raised were discussed in detail with stakeholders. Today we have reached understanding on key issues,” Sergei Rumas said.

While developing criteria for making social and economic forecasts for 2020, two scenarios were used: a targeted one for the forecast and a basic one for the budget.

The head of government noted that experts of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have recently downgraded global growth forecasts for 2019-2020 again. The eurozone is slowing down; the trade wars between the USA and China are leading to increased competition in a number of markets sensitive to Belarusian manufacturers. Geopolitical tensions destabilize commodity markets and lead to deferred demand for investment goods. “All this gives rise to serious challenges for the stable operation of the country's economy both this year and 2020,” said Sergei Rumas.

The key performance indicators of the government and the National Bank in 2020 are to be the following: GDP growth at 2.5%, labor productivity growth at 2.1%;  $1.7 billion in foreign direct investment raised, and inflation under 5%.

Real disposable household income should expand by 2.4% in 2020, real salaries should grow by 2.1%. The export of goods and services is to increase by 3.3%, which means that next year supplies to foreign markets should rise by $1.4 billion year-on-year. The foreign trade surplus is projected to stand at 1% of GDP.

“As you see from the above-mentioned parameters, the main objective is to ensure macroeconomic balance," the head of government said.

In order to stimulate economic growth, it is necessary to resolve several key issues. "The first one of them is labor productivity. According to the Economy Ministry, today this indicator in Belarus is more than two times lower than that in Central and Eastern Europe. This is a direct assessment of the competitiveness of our economy. The second issue is high economic costs; this issue is closely linked to the first one. Obviously, if we do not come to grips with the costs, we will never raise labor productivity and salaries. The last issue is promotion of entrepreneurship and work with investors. Belarus has the adequate legal framework, however, the work on the ground should improve,” Sergei Rumas said.

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