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3 Feb 2017

Belarus president comments on progress in negotiations on new IMF program

Belarus president comments on progress in negotiations on new IMF programMINSK, 3 February (BelTA) – Progress in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a new program for Belarus was sketched out during the meeting of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko with representatives of the general public, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 3 February, BelTA has learned.

Ways to more effectively manage state-owned enterprises are discussed among other things as part of the Belarus-IMF negotiations. “Initially [the chief of the IMF mission for Belarus] Peter Dohlman failed to understand Belarus at all. Two issues are left to address now. State property is one of them. IMF representatives now talk about prospects for the enterprises instead of talking about splitting them and selling the pieces. When I explained to them what would happen if we announced we were selling the enterprises and where they would be, the IMF representatives no longer raise the point,” said the head of state.

“If I offer these enterprises for sale now, every one of you will be able to guess 100% correctly where they will be and who will buy them. I have a responsibility to my people. Yaroslav Romanchuk can be forgotten. He even advised me to do it but I will go down in history if ‘grab-what-you-can privatization’ happens just like it happened in some of the neighboring countries. Moreover, these enterprises will not belong to Belarusians if it is done honestly according to market rules,” explained Alexander Lukashenko.

“This is why timing is what matters. I’d love to proceed slowly while the IMF would like to do it in one go. It may be the faster option. Although Russia tells me things didn’t work out as planned when the shock therapy policy was enacted across the board. It may be the faster way but I doubt the nation will be able to survive it. This is why I am optimizing but not as fast.”

“I am not saying Lukashenko is ossified and doesn’t know what to do. We are doing everything but it shouldn’t be done in one go. People’s fates are my top priority,” stated the President.

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