MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – About $3.5 billion was spent on repaying and servicing Belarus' external state debt in 2020, BelTA learned from Belarusian Finance Minister Yuri Seliverstov on 26 February.
The official said: “Our foreign commitments are very important for us. About $3.5 billion was spent on repaying and servicing external payments last year. For this purpose we actively used the resources we had raised both on the eurobonds market and in Russia for the sake of refinancing. All the commitments were honored in full.”
The finance minister noted that 2020 was not an easy year. The budget execution had to deal with conditions caused by the coronavirus infection and with economic slowdown. “This is why the budget experienced shortfalls in some sources of revenue – profit tax, dividends, payments and revenues from the petrochemical complex. At the same time certain sources of revenue recovered by the end of the year. Revenues from those sources were even slightly larger. Those are VAT, excise duties, customs duties on the export of certain commodities and some other revenues. On the whole, the state budget failed to receive about Br750 million,” Yuri Seliverstov said.
The official pointed out that in 2020 the healthcare system needed much larger funding than planned. Additional money was allocated to pay bonuses to healthcare workers and acquire medications and personal protective equipment. Additional funding was allocated for the social security system and the operation of contact centers. Support was also granted to real sector enterprises. Taking into account budget shortfalls and the additional spending the total volume of the budget deficit was close to about Br2.2 billion, Yuri Seliverstov concluded.