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IFC to launch new consulting program for Belarus in March-April

Economy 19.02.2018 | 16:51

MINSK, 19 February (BelTA) – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) intends to start implementing a new program in March-April 2018 to provide consulting assistance to Belarus, BelTA learned from Olga Shcherbina, head of the IFC representative office in Belarus. The statement was made before she met with members of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus on 19 February.

The official said: “We are considering the development of a new program to provide consulting assistance to Belarus. The program will be aimed at improving the business environment, the investment climate. We are looking at several components, which may become part of the program. The program is supposed to run for four years.” The active phase of the program's implementation is supposed to begin in March-April 2018.

Olga Shcherbina explained that improving business operation terms in Belarus by lowering the administrative barriers is one of the components of the new program. There are plans to introduce ways to evaluate the regulatory impact and a digital registry of administrative procedures. “The second component we are working on hard now is the development of competition and the assistance with antimonopoly efforts in order to give companies equal opportunities for doing business in Belarus regardless of their form of ownership,” she said.

According to the source, the improvement of the pledged movable property registry is another important component. “It is a component we intend to implement together with the central bank. There are other possibilities we are considering, for instance, the creation of a guarantee fund [for SMEs],” said Olga Shcherbina.

Olga Shcherbina pointed out that the meeting with Belarusian MPs was very important. “We see that the parliament is now much more active in the development of new legal acts. We would like to more tightly cooperate with MPs,” she noted.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is part of the World Bank Group. “Our program is part of the World Bank's new strategy for Belarus,” explained the head of the IFC representative office. She stressed that the IFC is one of the largest investors in Belarus. “So far some $730 million has been invested in 56 projects in Belarus. We are ready to consider projects with the private sector, public private partnership projects, or pre-privatization projects if any are to be implemented. We are in no way limited with regard to the projects we can implement here,” stated Olga Shcherbina. She specified that $30-35 million is the minimal volume of investments earmarked for this year.

Vladislav Shchepov, Chairman of the Economic Policy Commission, Deputy Chairman of the Budget and Finance Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, explained that Belarusian MPs would like to discuss concrete topics relating to the legislative process with IFC representatives. “After all, Ordinance No.7 has been adopted in Belarus. Its adoption entails a great deal of legislation changes. Improving the investment climate is another direction in our work. The representative office of the International Finance Corporation provides consulting assistance in this regard and implements concrete investment projects. We hope to discuss avenues of the IFC's cooperation with the House of Representatives, with individual commissions in order to put together an interaction plan,” he said.

Vladislav Shchepov also reminded that plans had been made to arrange parliamentary hearings about the improvement of Belarus' investment climate. “We will be pleased to invite the IFC representative office to participate in them. We hope to continue using organizational and instructional capabilities of the International Finance Corporation during joint events. Apart from that, we hope that a breakthrough will be secured in investment activities. We need solid support from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation in this regard for the sake of improving the rating of Belarus and reducing the cost of the resources it uses,” the MP said.

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