MINSK, 19 October (BelTA) - The government intends to request additional funds to tackle COVID-19, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said at a meeting with the head of state to discuss the epidemiological situation and the COVID-19 response in Belarus on 19 October, BelTA has learned.
According to the prime minister, this year more than Br7.6 billion, or 5% of GDP, has been earmarked from the national budget for healthcare. About Br6 billion has already been spent.
"The government uses all available financial instruments to ensure the sustainable functioning of the healthcare system. But, of course, given the rise in the incidence we have to look for additional sources of financing. Therefore, we will soon ask the head of state for Br250 million in additional funds (the relevant resolution is being drafted), including Br140 million to purchase medicines and vaccines. We will ask to budget another Br108 million as certain indicators of the national budget are revised," Roman Golovchenko said.
He said it would take about Br250 million more to pay COVID benefits to medical workers in the fourth quarter. This money will be designated from the national and local budgets. "The sums that we have earmarked for a year were actually used in three quarters," the prime minister explained.
Some Br825 million of budget funds have already been spent on benefits to medical doctors this year and almost Br1.3 billion since the beginning of the pandemic.
"The burden on the budget is very large," the head of government stated. “But even in these most difficult conditions, we have been able to maintain high rates of industrial production by tapping the internal reserves. Thus, the impact of the pandemic on the national economy is great, but we have been able to cope with it. We will find the lacking funds without detriment to other sectors of the economy."