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5 Nov 2019

Rumas: Belarus’ government dissatisfied with economic situation

Rumas: Belarus’ government dissatisfied with economic situation

MINSK, 5 November (BelTA) – The Belarusian government is not happy with the situation in the economy, Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said at the Council of Ministers’ session to review the country’s economic performance in January-September 2019, BelTA has learned.

“As far as the results of January-September 2019 are concerned, the government cannot call the economic situation satisfactory,” Sergei Rumas said. The head of government recalled that less than two months are left before the year-end; there is very little time left to use the reserves that were not utilized this year for one reason or another.

“The assessment of the work of individual government agencies was recorded in the protocol, just like the disciplinary measures to be applied to the agency heads. We will discuss these proposals, but I want to warn that this is just the first approach to the yearly performance assessment,” the premier said.

There are also some positive trends, like  economic growth and macroeconomic balance. The inflation rate remains within the projected limits; the trade surplus in goods and services exceeded $520 million; the foreign currency and deposit market is operating as normal. The net sale of foreign currency by households is estimated at $638 million, that of economic entities stands at $719 million. Fixed term household deposits denominated in rubles keep growing.

The central budget is being executed as planned. 

“The government’s commitments regarding foreign currency have been fulfilled in time and in full. The gold and forex reserves have risen by $2 billion since the start of the year and reached $9.2 billion by 1 November,” the premier informed.

Real household income increased by 6.8% in January-August.

At the same time, some key targets related to labor efficiency and export were not met; the GDP growth is slower than planned. “It is obvious that the GDP growth was impeded by negative trends in key economic sectors. Manufacturing is also slowing down. In January-September, industrial output rose by 0.7%; the fundamental issue – absence of working capital – remains unresolved,” Sergei Rumas said.

The contraction of the manufacturing sector battered the transportation sector and wholesale trade. “The transportation services have contracted by 2.3 percentage points since the start of the year, wholesale trade has shrunk by 3.4 percentage points,” the head of government said.

The premier asked the participants of the meeting to put forward clear-cut measures to reach the targets, with a focus on efforts to cut costs and increase labor efficiency.

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