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Belarus' state budget expected to get planned revenues in 2018

Economy 19.02.2018 | 14:02

MINSK, 19 February (BelTA) – The Finance Ministry expects that the state budget will get the expected volume of revenues in 2018, BelTA learned from Belarusian First Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich.

According to the latest estimates of domestic and international experts, Belarus' GDP is expected to grow by 2-2.5% in 2018, up from 1.2%. The figure exceeds the parameters specified by the state budget. Moreover, this year the Belarusian government intends to accomplish a more ambitious goal of securing 3.5% GDP growth. Maksim Yermolovich noted that the risk of falling below the nominal GDP levels is minimized. The same situation is observed with regard to other indicators. “There are buffers at every turn, which allow us to expect with a high degree of probability that the revenue part of the state budget will be fulfilled,” noted the official. Positive performance achieved in January 2018 confirms the calculations are realistic.

Maksim Yermolovich specified that revenues from the export of natural resources — potash fertilizers, oil, and oil products — contain a high risk component. “Volatile prices on international markets can have a negative effect on revenues from these sources. However, we don't think the probability of these events is high. We use a conservative price for oil in our estimates. We don't expect problems in this regard,” said the official.

According to the source, the need to help restructure loan debts of individual major companies and agricultural companies puts a considerable strain on the state budget. “The restructuring of debts of state-owned companies should not be a permanent article of expenditure of the state budget. These companies should optimize their costs, secure profitable operation, and find new target markets. Simply speaking, it is time for commercial companies to operate effectively on their own, including by paying out their bank loans,” he stated.

Maksim Yermolovich reminded that the state budget helped prevent a systemic bank crisis in 2015-2016 by compensating for the insolvency of companies. “Back then we exchanged troubled assets for better quality state papers. The state budget directly lent money to companies so that they could repay their loans. Other instruments were also used, including those involving the troubled assets agency in agriculture. Now the level of serviced bank loans is stabilized. It is time to use more sophisticated ways to resolve the difficulties of Belarusian companies without the state budget's support. Our hopes lie with the development of the troubled assets market, primarily the segment of bank loans. A comprehensive legal act is in development to create the relevant legal framework,” said the official.

The Finance Ministry representative remarked it is now necessary to increase the range of organizations, which will operate on the market of troubled assets, including by introducing special institutions. It is necessary to allow the non-banking sector to freely trade debts, sell pledged property, and recover property.

Meanwhile, plans have been made to give additional authority to the agency in charge of managing troubled assets. “We believe the agency should not limit its work to agricultural enterprises. Commercial entities from other branches of the economy — civil engineering, manufacturing sector — experience similar difficulties. At the same time it is necessary to empower the agency using sources other than new state budget infusions,” stated Belarusian First Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich.

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