In Case You Missed. 5 Must-Know News From Last Week

After an eventful week, BelarusFeed put together some of the most important news that hit the headlines to keep you updated.

 1. You might have missed

The last week for Belarusians started with the introduction of pre-identification procedure of internet users on websites. It means no comments will be allowed without phone number since December 1, 2018.

The day after that the news about two more executions in Belarus were made public. Death row prisoners Siamion Berazhnoy, 31, and Ihar Hershankou, 36, were executed by shooting.

Criminal prosecution against TUT.BY journalists accused of illegal access to data of the state-owned BelTA news agency was terminated. Maryna Zolatava, the chief editor of the news outlet, is the only one whose was appeal was denied.

Later Belarus got in the top three European countries with the highest HIV rates, according to the latest WHO report.

2. Belarusians buy less food, spend more on utilities

According to Belstat, Belarusians are now spending more on utilities and significantly less on food.

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At the beginning of this year, expenditures on goods accounted for about 40.8% of a personal budget. The third quarter showed the Belarusians spend 37.4% of their income on food.

At the same time, last year Belarusians spent 23.9% of their income on services, while in the third quarter of this year this figure rose to 25.2%. In particular, Belarusians spent on housing and communal services 0.5 % more this year, and 0.4% more for medical services.

3.  No permission for bank accounts abroad needed 

In 2019, Belarusians will be able to open accounts and deposits in foreign banks without the approval of the National Bank of Belarus. The cancellation of permits will also affect business sphere.

For legal entities, the necessary permission today will be replaced by registration of currency transactions related to the movement of capital. The move will speed up the settlement of foreign trade transactions for Belarusian companies and will make it easier to get loans.

Read also: We need objective facts: Belarus first reaction to Russia-Ukraine escalation

“The transition from a permissive to a notification procedure for opening accounts abroad, an increase in the time for completion of foreign trade operations, the abolition of the mandatory sale of foreign currency earnings are all positive signals that the state gives to the current and potential investors,” says investment expert Sergey Mashonsky.

4. Below the poverty line

In the third quarter of this year, 3.9% of households were below the poverty line, Belstat reports. In comparison with the second quarter, this indicator decreased by 0.1%, and by 0.3% in comparison to the same period last year.

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According to the census in 2009, there are 3,873,139 households registered in Belarus. That is, about 151,000 families were below the national poverty line in the third quarter of this year.

The highest poverty rate among families with minor children accounts for 8% of households. In the third quarter of last year, this figure was 8.9% of families.

Gomel and Brest regions are still leading in terms of low-income levels, 5.5% and 5.4%, respectively. The lowest percentage is in Minsk – 1% (a quarter earlier it was 1.1%).

5. The meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council (EAEU) in Minsk 

The heads of government of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states met to consider the prospects of the integration and the ways to improve its legal framework.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his counterparts discussed the EAEU digital agenda, cooperation in trade, industry and agriculture, energy, economic and financial policies.

The agenda also included:

  • tax policy on alcohol and tobacco and the regulation of the alcohol market in the union,
  • the formation of the common gas market, the draft concept of the EAEU financial market,
  • wheeled vehicles with electric motors production and usage in the EAEU countries in 2018-2020,
  • the supply and demand balance on agricultural products, food, flax fiber, rawhides, cotton fiber and wool for 2018-2019.