MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – Since August 2022 inflation has been slowing down in Belarus, Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Aleksei Bogdanov told a BelTA correspondent.
In 2022, the annual inflation rate (increase in prices over 12 months) amounted to 12.8%. “We need to keep in mind that half of this increase (6.1%) is the rise in prices in March 2022. If we look at the trend of recent months, without the one-time spike in prices in March, the annual inflation rate would be below the benchmark for 2023. Inflation has been slowing down in Belarus since August 2022. In December the annual inflation rate was 12.8%, and in January 2023 it was 12%. By the end of March this year, inflation is expected to become a one-digit figure,” Aleksei Bogdanov said.
In order to achieve the goals set for the government and the National Bank to keep inflation at 7-8%, a clear pricing mechanism has been established for manufacturers, importers and retailers. This mechanism was laid out in government Resolution No. 713, the minister noted. “In particular, price controls have been established for manufacturers – they will be allowed to raise prices only if there is an economic justification for it and the go-ahead from a higher authority. Markup limits have been set for importers and retailers. The Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade has been authorized to cancel unjustified price rises. In addition, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade, together with the State Customs Committee, monitors prices for imported items, and these prices should also be justified. Additionally, we have developed quarterly indicative parameters for price increases depending on the type of activities of producers. These parameters will provide guidelines for government agencies,” the minister added.
According to Aleksei Bogdanov, there are plans to implement a joint price stabilization program of the government and the State Control Committee for 2023. The work on this program is now on the home stretch. In addition, the Economy Ministry is implementing a set of measures aimed at cutting costs along the entire chain, from the manufacturer to the retailer. “All these measures combined will help to fulfill the task of keeping inflation at no more than 7-8%. In turn, the State Control Committee, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade, regional executive committees and the Minsk City Council will keep track of the situation in the consumer market,” Aleksei Bogdanov added.