Four technical expert missions of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will visit Minsk soon. It is expected that the program for financing Belarus will be ready in November-December.
The “Belarusian question” was discussed among other issues at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group on October 7-9 in Washington, DC. Belarus was represented by key figures of the economic bloc, headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky and the head of the National Bank Pavel Kallaur.
The official commentary has not yet followed, but an informed source told TUT.BY the discussion stumbled over two big issues that need a serious study and careful consideration of all the details.
These are the reform of state-owned enterpises, most of which consistently generate losses threatening the country’s financial stability, and the establishment of an effective system of social support for those parts of the population that will be affected by an increase in utility tariffs and lay-offs from state-owned enterprises [state sector reform and increase of tariffs are two key demands under which the international financial insitutions are ready to provide a new loan to Belarus – note].
“It is obvious already that cashless subsidies for utility tariffs will not be enough to protect the most financially vulnerable parts of society”, the source said.
The future of state-owned enterprises is even more bleak. “We need to assess the scale of the problem. The good thing is that the World Bank’s team is strong and well-versed in the experince of similar reforms from other countries. We do not mean the reforms that took place in the 90s in some ex-USSR states but other examples, considering the new conditions.”
75 programs are being carried out with the help of the IMF all over the world.
Without the external support, Belarus will find it extremely difficult to pay off its debts the next year. The question about the source of the support remains open.