The investment policy of Belarus will be directed at activating the initiative inside the country and drawing foreign investment, says First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Turchin.
Members of parliament and international experts discussed Belarus’ investment climate and how to improve it at the parliamentary hearings on 14 November.
$1.4 bln in direct investment in 2019
Belarus has created certain favorable conditions for investors, Turchin recalled. Namely, it guarantees investor protection and insurance of investment risks and offers benefits and preferences to investors in projects like the free economic zones and the Great Stone industrial park.
The latter has registered 17 residents and $317 million of investment with the total worth estimated at $1 billion.
Direct foreign investment in Belarus grew by 47.5% during the 9 months of the current year, the Minister of Economy Dmitry Krutoy said. It totaled $1.4 billion.
According to the minister, investors prefer fast-payback spheres such as trade and services. The government, however, feels the need to gradually attract foreign financial resource to the industry.
The minister underlined that Belarus is interested in both foreign and domestic investors.
Double figure by 2025
The plan is to increase the investment twofold to BYN 53 billion by 2025, according to Dmitry Krutoy.
“The goals are ambitious. Bring Belarus to Top 30 in Doing Business report, create the best conditions in the EAEU, double the total investment,” the official said.
The minister sees several directions Belarus needs to work in to attain those goals. Namely, improve legislation, adjust a number of government decrees on the procedure for concluding investment contracts, implement a roadmap for removing barriers and exemptions in the EAEU.
Another important task for Belarus is to form favorable long-term macroeconomic environment. It includes low inflation, stable rates, and higher effectiveness of the National Agency for Investment and Privatization.
External ombudsman and privatization needed, say experts
Belarus needs to fix flaws in legislation, in particular, the procedure for damage compensation to an investor by state-owned organizations, the Regional Manager for Belarus at IFC Jason Pellmar recommends.
The expert also drew the attention to the problem of ineffective state-owned enterprises. “Some have to be privatized, some have to be closed,” Pellmar noted.
Another suggestion from the experts is for Belarus to get an independent international advisor. The idea was voiced by the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Pavel Lashchenko. This person needs to have authority in the eyes of the president.
“This expert would visit Belarus, communicate with those concerned with attracting investment both at the governmental and business levels,” Lashchenko suggested.