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Opinions & Interviews

21 Jun 2016

Belarus expects specific discussion about new IMF country program soon

Belarus expects specific discussion about new IMF country program soon

MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) – Belarus intends to start specific discussions about a new country program after the current IMF mission is over, BelTA learned from Belarusian Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky on 21 June.

The Economy Minister is expected to meet with the IMF mission, which will work in Belarus through 30 June. “As a result of the talks we intend to start specific discussions about the forthcoming program,” said Vladimir Zinovsky. “We are interested in the program but we have to take a closer look at our economic development. That’s just what we are doing together with partners from the International Monetary Fund.”

Speaking about the main provisions of the previous intentions concerning the program, Vladimir Zinovsky said they are generally being fulfilled. But there are some debatable points, on which Belarus and the IMF will have to find common ground. “If we decide in favor of raising utility rates, we will have to think about how we are going to compensate the poorest population strata for the raise. There is no doubt the two decisions should be connected. Belarusian households should not suffer due to the raise,” explained the Economy Minister.

At present Belarusians pay for about 40% of the prime cost of all utility services. Vladimir Zinovsky reminded about plans to raise the figure to 100% by late 2018 primarily by reducing energy costs of enterprises and utility service providers. He admitted that a small increase in utility rates may happen while costs are being reduced. As a result, Belarusians will pay for 50% of the prime cost of utility services.

BelTA reported earlier that an IMF mission has arrived in Belarus for the sake of evaluating the current economic policy and for taking part in annual consultations with the Belarus government as part of Article IV. While in Belarus the IMF mission participants are supposed to meet with representatives of the government, the central bank, the private sector, the scientific community, and professional organizations.

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