Mea­sures of Re­sponse

In the face of ex­ter­nal chal­lenges Be­larus re­mains com­mit­ted to its eco­nomic pol­icy pri­or­i­ties

Economy of Belarus - - FRONT PAGE - Anna KOT

At the end of 2014 Be­larus had to deal with se­ri­ous chal­lenges com­ing from abroad. Mar­ket slump and steep de­val­u­a­tion of the na­tional cur­ren­cies of Be­larus’ main trad­ing part­ners, plung­ing prices for oil and oil prod­ucts, and the es­ca­la­tion of the Ukraine con­flict prompted the Be­laru­sian Gov­ern­ment to look for new growth points and new so­lu­tions to im­prove the eco­nomic reg­u­la­tion sys­tem. To con­front ex­ter­nal shocks, the Gov­ern­ment came up with an ac­tion pro­gram for 2015. Tak­ing part in the elab­o­ra­tion of the doc­u­ment were MPs and the busi­ness com­mu­nity. In the face of mount­ing ex­ter­nal chal­lenges, the fo­cus was made on main­tain­ing macroe­co­nomic and so­cial sta­bil­ity and cre­at­ing the foun­da­tion for the fur­ther eco­nomic growth.

Safety Re­serves

In 2015 the Be­laru­sian Gov­ern­ment will keep its fo­cus on im­ple­ment­ing an ef­fi­cient macroe­co­nomic and mon­e­tary pol­icy, up­grad­ing the eco­nomic reg­u­la­tion sys­tem, boost­ing com­pe­ti­tion, pro­mot­ing small and medium-sized en­trepreneur­ship, ex­pand­ing and di­ver­si­fy­ing ex­ports, ramp­ing up in­te­gra­tion within the frame­work of the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union and elab­o­rat­ing the so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment pro­gram for the pe­riod of 2016-2020.

“The key points of the pro­gram are based on the tasks the Pres­i­dent put for­ward while ap­point­ing gov­ern­ment­mem­bers,i.e.di­ver­si­fy­ing ex­ports, main­tain­ing sta­ble op­er­a­tion of industrial en­ter­prises, re­duc­ing ware­house stocks and ex­ter­nal ac­counts re­ceiv­able, and curb­ing in­fla­tion,” Be­laru­sian Prime Min­is­ter An­drei Kobyakov said when pre­sent­ing the pro­gram at the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The 2015 pro­gram is dif­fer­ent from sim­i­lar doc­u­ments in a num­ber of ways. For ex­am­ple, it en­vis­ages per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity of heads of min­istries and con­cerns for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of sec­toral poli­cies, and also a big­ger role of min­is­ters, oblast gov­er­nors and com­pany heads in de­ci­sion-mak­ing and de-bu­reau­cra­ti­za­tion.

An­other dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of the pro­gram is a small num­ber of quan­ti­ta­tive pa­ram­e­ters. The Gov­ern­ment ex­plained that amidst global un­cer­tain­ties the coun­try should be able to re­spond to changes in a fast and flex­i­ble way.

“This pro­gram re­jects mi­cro­man­age­ment. The pro­gram is not about fig­ures and re­ports, but about re­sults, qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency. Ev­ery­one should be able to make de­ci­sions fast, to op­er­ate in a prof­itable and cost-ef­fec­tive way, to ex­pand and di­ver­sify ex­ports. The com­mon strat­egy was out­lined by the Pres­i­dent and the de­tails

were spec­i­fied by the gov­ern­ment ac­tion pro­gram,” An­drei Kobyakov un­der­lined.

The Gov­ern­ment is guided by the coun­try’s ma­jor eco­nomic doc­u­ments – the so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment pro­gram and the bud­get. The ac­tion pro­gram al­lows for mar­ket fluc­tu­a­tions and of­fers sev­eral eco­nomic devel­op­ment sce­nar­ios depend­ing on the changes in oil prices and the ex­change rate of the Rus­sian ru­ble. Th­ese pa­ram­e­ters have a great im­pact on bud­get rev­enues, the ef­fi­ciency of the petro­chem­i­cal in­dus­try and the de­mand for Be­larus-made prod­ucts on the Rus­sian mar­ket. Re­sponse ac­tions and eco­nomic bal­anc­ing mea­sures have been elab­o­rated for each of the sce­nar­ios.

The first sce­nario (60/60) ex­pects the an­nual av­er­age oil price to be $60 per bar­rel in 2015, with the ex­change rate of the Rus­sian ru­ble at RUB60 per $1. The sec­ond sce­nario (50/62) re­lies on cal­cu­la­tions of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion’s ba­sic sce­nario and ex­pects the an­nual av­er­age price for oil at $50 per bar­rel, with the ex­change rate of the Rus­sian ru­ble at RUB61.5 per $1. The third sce­nario (40/80) is a stress one. It ex­pects oil to cost $40 per bar­rel, with the an­nual av­er­age ex­change rate of the Rus­sian ru­ble at RUB80 per $1.

The sec­ond sce­nario (50/62) was adopted as the ba­sic one for 2015. Be­larus and Rus­sia united ef­forts to align es­ti­mates and fore­casts and to op­ti­mize the industrial and ex­port poli­cies. Kaza­khstan adopted sim­i­lar oil price pro­jec­tions.

“This sce­nario is con­ser­va­tive. In other words, it is worse than the cur­rent ex­pec­ta­tions of ex­perts re­gard­ing ex­ter­nal con­di­tions of the econ­omy devel­op­ment. This way it al­lows cre­at­ing some safety re­serves in the event of the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the global econ­omy,” the pro­gram de­vel­op­ers ex­plained.

The bud­get pol­icy is based on the bud­get sur­plus that will be big enough for the un­con­di­tional and timely ful­fill­ment of the coun­try’s debt com­mit­ments. The ef­fi­ciency of the bud­getary spend­ing will be in­creased. The Gov­ern­ment is con­vinced that the coun­try should rely on its own re­sources. At the same time fi­nan­cial re­sources com­ing from abroad will open up ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

It is im­por­tant that de­spite all the chal­lenges, the Gov­ern­ment is not go­ing to give up on its so­cial com­mit­ments. The pro­gram con­tains a num­ber of sec­tions on so­cial se­cu­rity, house­hold in­come and em­ploy­ment. Th­ese pro­vi­sions are aimed at pre­serv­ing and strength­en­ing the hu­man po­ten­tial.

“In the event of the most un­ex­pected and ex­tra­or­di­nary de­vel­op­ments, peo­ple work­ing in the public sec­tor will get their salaries on time,” the Prime Min­is­ter as­sured.

If the sit­u­a­tion fol­lows the 60/60 sce­nario, in other words, if the av­er­age an­nual oil prices make up $60 per bar­rel with the ex­change rate of the Rus­sian ru­ble at RUB60 per $1, it may be pos­si­ble to ease the eco­nomic pol­icy in H2 2015.

Key Ar­eas of Fo­cus

In­stru­ments of mon­e­tary, fis­cal, pric­ing and an­ti­monopoly pol­icy will be used to achieve the macroe­co­nomic bal­ance in 2015. The mon­e­tary and fis­cal pol­icy will re­main tough while the ex­change rate pol­icy flex­i­ble.

The for­eign ex­change mar­ket will be de­vel­op­ing solely on mar­ket prin­ci­ples, and com­pen­satory mea­sures will be used to smooth things over for the real econ­omy. The Gov­ern­ment faces dif­fi­cult tasks of de-dol­lar­iz­ing the na­tional econ­omy and in­creas­ing the trust in the na­tional cur­rency, sat­u­rat­ing the con­sumer mar­ket with goods and ser­vices at af­ford­able prices and keep­ing the in­fla­tion be­low 10% in 2016-2020.

“By curb­ing in­fla­tion ex­pec­ta­tions and de-dol­lar­iz­ing the econ­omy, we will be able to cut down in­ter­est rates. Se­condly, it will stim­u­late sav­ings in the na­tional cur­rency and, thirdly, it will serve as a cat­a­lyst for in­vest­ment ac­tiv­ity,” Prime Min­is­ter An­drei Kobyakov said ex­plain­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s at­ten­tion to th­ese as­pects of the eco­nomic pol­icy.

Be­larus started work­ing on ex­pand­ing the use of the na­tional cur­rency at the end of 2014. The Gov­ern­ment and the Na­tional Bank are im­ple­ment­ing a set of mea­sures to limit pay­ments in for­eign cur­rency in Be­larus, and to un­peg the na­tional cur­rency from the U.S. dollar or the euro when de­ter­min­ing prices, rent rates, cus­toms du­ties and other pay­ments.

With re­gard to the in­fla­tion, the pro­gram aims to pre­vent any price spec­u­la­tion. The Gov­ern­ment will act proac­tively grad­u­ally re­plac­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive re­stric­tions with

mea­sures of ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tion and pro­mot­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Prices on the con­sumer mar­ket will be mon­i­tored. Prod­uct in­ter­ven­tions will be used to bal­ance out the sup­ply and de­mand to avoid price hikes. Prompt an­ti­monopoly in­ves­ti­ga­tions will help pre­vent price fix­ings on cer­tain com­modi­ties.

The main ob­jec­tive of the eco­nomic pol­icy in 2015 is to build up ex­ports by redi­rect­ing trade flows to new promis­ing mar­kets while main­tain­ing the pres­ence on tra­di­tional ones. The ex­port to industrial pro­duc­tion ra­tio should be no less than 65% at the macrolevel.

The Gov­ern­ment has been ex­pand­ing sup­port mech­a­nisms for ex­porters, em­brac­ing ad­vanced trade fi­nance so­lu­tions, and es­tab­lish­ing closer co­op­er­a­tion with leas­ing and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. Set­tling the prob­lem of for­eign ac­counts re­ceiv­able, im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of com­mod­ity dis­tri­bu­tion net­works, in­clud­ing war­ranty and post­war­ranty ser­vice, are seen by the Gov­ern­ment as sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue op­por­tu­ni­ties to be tapped in 2015. Con­sid­er­able re­lax­ation of the cus­toms ad­min­is­tra­tion is also in the plans. Work will be con­tin­ued on the re­moval of tar­iff and non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers to mu­tual trade be­tween the mem­ber states of the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union.

Gov­ern­ment mem­bers will be put in charge of pro­mot­ing co­op­er­a­tion with cer­tain coun­tries and re­gions. To­gether with the MPs they will be work­ing to ad­vance the coun­try’s eco­nomic in­ter­ests and to ex­plore new mar­kets.

“We do not aim to take over the func­tions of busi­ness here. We aim to help busi­ness­men at the po­lit­i­cal level, which is very im­por­tant when you ad­vance to a new mar­ket,” An­drei Kobyakov said.

The Gov­ern­ment of Be­larus is set to make an ef­fi­cient use of the ad­van­tages of re­gional and global in­te­gra­tion. For ex­am­ple, the pro­gram pro­vides for the ex­pan­sion of eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with the Euro­pean Union, par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt project ini­ti­ated by China. How­ever, pri­or­ity will be given to the devel­op­ment of eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion within the frame­work of the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union, the Union State of Be­larus and Rus­sia, and the coun­tries of the CIS.

“To­gether with the Rus­sian Gov­ern­ment we have de­vel­oped an ac­tion plan to deepen eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion. We are set to ease the ac­cess to our mar­kets for a wide range of goods. We have also de­vel­oped a mech­a­nism of in­ter­ac­tion in pur­su­ing the com­mon industrial and fi­nan­cial poli­cies,” the Be­laru­sian head of gov­ern­ment said.

The Gov­ern­ment keeps an eye on the fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic stand­ing of en­ter­prises of the real econ­omy, which is suf­fer­ing from the im­pact of the ex­ter­nal shocks and tight macroe­co­nomic pol­icy.

Ac­cord­ing to the Econ­omy Min­istry, mea­sures are be­ing taken to help do­mes­tic en­ter­prises to adapt to the sud­den changes in the ex­ter­nal eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment while en­sur­ing the pri­or­i­ties

Be­larus’ Gov­ern­ment and the Na­tional Bank are im­ple­ment­ing a set of mea­sures to limit pay­ments in for­eign cur­rency in Be­larus, and to un­peg the na­tional cur­rency from the U.S. dollar or the euro when de­ter­min­ing prices, rent rates, cus­toms du­ties

and other pay­ments

out­lined by the head of state for the Gov­ern­ment.

TheNa­tion­alBankand­fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions set up a so-called “club of cred­i­tors” to re­fi­nance and, if nec­es­sary, re­struc­ture the debts of the coun­try’s largest com­pa­nies. The industrial com­plex was al­lowed to sell prod­ucts at prices be­low pro­duc­tion costs, not to in­clude de­pre­ci­a­tion ex­penses into prod­uct prices. Solely mar­ket mea­sures will be used to sup­port the com­pet­i­tive­ness of en­ter­prises.

“A new par­a­digm is be­ing im­ple­mented now. It pro­vides that com­pa­nies that can­not sell their prod­ucts and re­duce ac­counts re­ceiv­able will not be able to take out new loans. This is a prin­ci­pled ap­proach of the Gov­ern­ment to the macroe­co­nomic pol­icy,” An­drei Kobyakov said. “We aim to keep the ex­ist­ing lend­ing vol­umes, not to in­crease them. We seek to make the pro­duc­tion process more ef­fi­cient. To put it sim­ply, our ef­forts will be cen­tered on the mea­sures to re­duce costs, to cut down ware­house stocks and bring back for­eign ex­change earn­ings stuck abroad,” An­drei Kobyakov added.

Small and medium-sized en­ter­prises ( SMEs) are viewed as one of the main points for eco­nomic growth this year. Ac­cess to loan re­sources has been ex­panded for SMEs through the Devel­op­ment Bank of Be­larus. The Bank has put aside Br700 bil­lion for th­ese pur­poses in 2015. SMEs will par­tic­i­pate in sec­toral and re­gional eco­nomic pro­grams, public pro­cure­ment con­tracts and dis­tri­bu­tion of raw ma­te­ri­als by ten­der.

The Be­laru­sian Fund of Fi­nan­cial Sup­port to En­trepreneurs is ex­pected to set up a SMEs pro­mo­tion com­pany in co­op­er­a­tion with the World Bank. The com­pany will cre­ate a guar­an­tee fund for open­ing new busi­nesses. Be­sides, there are plans to set up an in­sti­tute to as­sess the im­pact of draft reg­u­la­tory acts on busi­ness. Public ad­vi­sory coun­cils will have a big­ger say in leg­isla­tive ef­forts and dis­cus­sion of is­sues fac­ing the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

The pro­gram stip­u­lates a num­ber of mea­sures to stream­line the use of in­vest­ments and public funds. A de­cree will be drafted to in­tro­duce a new dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem for public funds, cancel the declar­a­tive prin­ci­ple in com­pil­ing gov­ern­ment pro­grams and cre­ate equal ac­cess to sub­si­dies to off­set the money spent on in­vest­ment projects.

Pref­er­en­tial lend­ing lim­its co­or­di­nated with the Na­tional Bank will re­main un­changed. In­vest­ment re­sources will be al­lo­cated, first of all, to­wards the sub­stan­tially com­plete projects and also projects to man­u­fac­ture prod­ucts that will be com­pet­i­tive on for­eign mar­kets. Loans for new in­vest­ment projects im­ple­mented as part of gov­ern­ment pro­grams will be al­lo­cated on a com­pet­i­tive ba­sis solely by the Devel­op­ment Bank of Be­larus. The Gov­ern­ment is con­fi­dent that money should be in­vested in the most ef­fi­cient projects. The Gov­ern­ment also plans to se­cure equal ac­cess to gov­ern­ment sup­port pro­grams for com­pa­nies of all forms of own­er­ship.

“We ad­vo­cate equal ac­cess, com­pe­ti­tion for ac­cess and sec­toral pref­er­ences,” First Vice Pre­mier Vasily Matyu­shevsky said. “Ei­ther state-run or pri­vate, th­ese com­pa­nies are Be­laru­sian. They pay taxes and cre­ate jobs. We need to be guided by a cost-ben­e­fit prin­ci­ple here,” he noted.

The law on public-pri­vate part­ner­ship, which is ex­pected to be passed in Be­larus this year, will be an im­por­tant step in im­prov­ing the coun­try’s in­vest­ment cli­mate. Ac­cord­ing to the Econ­omy Min­istry, the doc­u­ment will fa­cil­i­tate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new so­cially im­por­tant projects through in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and busi­ness par­tic­i­pa­tion in fund­ing the public sec­tor. The law will also en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of state prop­erty man­age­ment.

The pro­gram iden­ti­fies the ac­tions aimed, first of all, at en­hanc­ing the eco­nomic plan­ning and man­age­ment sys­tem. They in­clude a draft law on the gov­ern­ment in­dica­tive plan­ning and fore­cast­ing of so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment of Be­larus. The doc­u­ment can be passed by the Be­laru­sian Par­lia­ment in au­tumn.

In­dica­tive plan­ning means no manda­tory out­put re­quire­ments. Fore­casts will de­fine eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties and guide­lines for com­pa­nies, sec­tors and re­gions. The plan­ning sys­tem will in­clude ad­just­ment and mon­i­tor­ing reg­u­la­tions. Be­larus’ part­ners in the Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space chose in­dica­tive plan­ning over di­rec­tive plan­ning a long time ago.

Sep­a­rat­ing the func­tions of the state as a reg­u­la­tor and an owner is con­sid­ered a novel con­cept. Gov­ern­ment bod­ies will be ex­empted from the day-to-day man­age­ment of sub­or­di­nate com­pa­nies. In­stead, they will su­per­vise the devel­op­ment of sec­toral strate­gies, the de­liv­ery of tar­gets set out in the pro­grams and the HR pol­icy.

Be­larus’ public prop­erty man­age­ment con­cept through 2020 is set to en­hance public prop­erty man­age­ment ef­fi­ciency in the coun­try. Vol­un­tary in­cor­po­ra­tion into hold­ing com­pa­nies is ex­pected for com­pa­nies re­leased from de­part­men­tal con­trol. New reg­u­la­tory acts will al­low com­pa­nies with a state share to hire pro­fes­sional man­agers in the ca­pac­ity of gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors.

The so­cial block of the pro­gram en­vis­ages ac­tions to pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion and health­care, in­crease house­hold in­come and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and also mea­sures to im­prove the so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem.

In par­tic­u­lar, the pro­gram is set to bal­ance out the in­crease in real in­come with the growth of the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct and la­bor pro­duc­tiv­ity. The Gov­ern­ment is determined to re­solve the free-rider is­sue. A num­ber of mea­sures are en­vis­aged to help the un­em­ployed with find­ing a job. The draft de­cree on the mea­sures to pre­vent so­cial par­a­sitism is con­sid­ered one of the key mea­sures of the pro­gram. The doc­u­ment will fo­cus on “en­cour­ag­ing able-bod­ied peo­ple to work, en­forc­ing the con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion of cit­i­zens to par­tic­i­pate in the fi­nanc­ing of public ex­pen­di­tures,” reads the gov­ern­ment ac­tion pro­gram.

As for pen­sion cov­er­age, Be­larus plans to con­clude in­ter­na­tional agree­ments with the EEU states and other coun­tries to in­volve them in the fi­nanc­ing of pen­sions for the length of ser­vice ac­quired in their ter­ri­to­ries. The coun­try will also sup­port the most vul­ner­a­ble so­cial groups and peo­ple go­ing through hard times.

The coun­try’s so­cial pol­icy will stay fo­cused on sup­port­ing fam­i­lies with chil­dren. The main in­no­va­tions of 2015 aimed at stim­u­lat­ing the birth of sec­ond and sub­se­quent chil­dren pro­vide for a $10,000 fam­ily cap­i­tal bonus and a new type of child al­lowance. The fam­ily cap­i­tal can be used to im­prove hous­ing con­di­tions, pay for ed­u­ca­tion or other ser­vices, in­clud­ing so­cial and health­care ser­vices, or be de­posited to a pen­sion ac­count.

Fu­ture Ob­jec­tives

Thus, the 2015 pro­gram en­com­passes the main ar­eas of fo­cus in­clud­ing do­mes­tic econ­omy, for­eign econ­omy, in­vest­ments, struc­tural pol­icy, en­trepreneur­ship devel­op­ment, and sec­toral pol­icy. Other sec­tions of the pro­gram are ded­i­cated to the re­gional pol­icy, preser­va­tion and en­hance­ment of hu­man po­ten­tial. Ev­ery sec­tion spec­i­fies con­crete goals, tasks, im­ple­men­ta­tion mech­a­nisms and ex­ec­u­tives re­spon­si­ble.

All sec­tions of the pro­gram are aimed at en­sur­ing eco­nomic bal­ance in 2015 and ro­bust eco­nomic growth in the next five-year pe­riod. The gen­eral eco­nomic sec­tion is fo­cused on the im­prove­ment of macro-plan­ning, new ap­proaches to the elab­o­ra­tion of gov­ern­ment pro­grams and sup­port ini­tia­tives, devel­op­ment of public-pri­vate part­ner­ship, op­ti­miza­tion of cor­po­rate man­age­ment, and giv­ing an im­pe­tus to the devel­op­ment of small and medium-sized man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses.

The doc­u­ment in­cludes many pending legal acts and mech­a­nisms as well as fresh ideas re­gard­ing the bal­anced devel­op­ment of the econ­omy. Mean­while, the state eco­nomic pol­icy pri­or­i­ties will re­main the same. Th­ese are mainly the devel­op­ment of hu­man po­ten­tial, stim­u­la­tion of busi­ness ini­tia­tives and en­trepreneur­ship, sub­stan­tial for­eign trade growth, bal­anced devel­op­ment of re­gions, com­fort­able and af­ford­able hous­ing and food se­cu­rity.

In 2015 Be­larus will be work­ing to build up ex­port by redi­rect­ing trade flows to new promis­ing mar­kets while main­tain­ing the pres­ence on tra­di­tional ones

The Gov­ern­ment will rely on such prin­ci­ples as cre­ativ­ity, equal­ity of all forms of own­er­ship, non­in­ter­fer­ence in fair com­pe­ti­tion, open­ness in the prepa­ra­tion of strate­gic doc­u­ments, di­vi­sion of func­tions of an owner and a reg­u­la­tor in the op­er­a­tion of com­pa­nies with the state share in the au­tho­rized cap­i­tal.

“The Pres­i­dent gave a clearcut in­struc­tion to the Gov­ern­ment to pre­serve what we have in the dif­fi­cult time of cri­sis. To ful­fill this goal, it is es­sen­tial to con­sol­i­date ef­forts of all branches of power and the en­tire so­ci­ety,” Be­laru­sian Prime Min­is­ter An­drei Kobyakov stressed.

It is ex­pected that the in­dus­tries which have been re­cently over­hauled us­ing huge in­vest­ments, par­tic­u­larly, wood pro­cess­ing, agribusi­ness and the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, will be the driv­ing forces of the econ­omy. Thus, the up­grade of wood pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies will be fin­ished this year.Nine com­pa­nies will reach the es­ti­mated ca­pac­ity. Svet­l­o­gorsk Pulp and Card­board Mill will launch a new fa­cil­ity to pro­duce bleached pulp.

“The main ob­jec­tive is to guar­an­tee ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion of our com­pa­nies, good sales of the prod­ucts we make, and to get profit. It is not easy to work on for­eign mar­kets. The sit­u­a­tion has changed since we started im­ple­ment­ing cer­tain up­grade projects, but still our mod­ern­iza­tion ef­forts can be a suc­cess,” the Be­laru­sian head of gov­ern­ment said.

Among the Gov­ern­ment’s midterm pri­or­i­ties in 2015 will be the devel­op­ment of the So­cial and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Pro­gram of the Repub­lic of Be­larus for 2016-2020. Plans have been made to work out strate­gies and con­cepts to sup­port and pro­mote ex­port, raise for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments, im­prove the state prop­erty man­age­ment, pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, youth pol­icy, ser­vices sec­torand­e­d­u­ca­tion.TheGovernment will draft pro­grams to fa­cil­i­tate so­cial in­te­gra­tion of dis­abled and el­derly peo­ple, pop­u­lar­ize phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and sport, and en­hance de­mo­graphic se­cu­rity.

Apart from that, the gov­ern­ment ac­tion pro­gram en­vis­ages the devel­op­ment of more than ten draft laws of para­mount im­por­tance. Th­ese in­clude a draft law on pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ship, state in­dica­tive plan­ning and fore­cast­ing of the coun­try’s so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment, a draft law on sel­f­reg­u­lat­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, a re­vised ver­sion of the anti-cor­rup­tion bill.

On the whole, dur­ing the spring ses­sion the Par­lia­ment is to con­sider over 50 draft laws. More­over, the agenda will be ex­panded, Chair­man of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Na­tional As­sem­bly of Be­larus Vladimir An­dre­ichenko said as he pre­sented the gov­ern­ment ac­tion pro­gram to the MPs. “We have cre­ated an ef­fi­cient mech­a­nism of in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the MPs and the Gov­ern­ment which is ex­tremely im­por­tant right now,” he noted.

“Our main ob­jec­tive is to mo­bi­lize the so­ci­ety to im­ple­ment the tasks set by the head of state re­gard­ing the dy­nam­i­can­d­sus­tain­ablede­vel­op­ment of the coun­try. There should be one cri­te­rion of the ef­fi­ciency of gov­ern­ment ac­tions, which is peace, sta­bil­ity and high living stan­dards,” Vladimir An­dre­ichenko stressed.

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