Belarusian economy must be in a critical condition, if the government decided to ask IMF for another credit, thinks Valery Karbalevich, a political scientist. – The economic situation is exigent, and there is no feasible solution in sight to deal with the foreign currencies deficit. That’s why the authorities had to turn to IMF for help. – Karbalevich told Belsat. Despite being at odds with the EU, Belarus still asked this western-controlled organization for economic support.
Considering discomfort associated with seeking help from an organization hostile to the authoritarian regime, Karbalevich concluded that Belarusian-Russian relations must be tense. – Russia is not interested in supplying loans on the same terms as before. New requirements, such as privatization of Belarusian companies by Russia, are not welcomed by the Belarusian authorities. – he added.
Karbalevich stressed the importance of political factors – the current conflict between the EU and the U.S. with Belarus might be decisive in the process of obtaining credit. The expert thinks that western countries will attempt to pull Belarus out of the Russia’s sphere of influence. After obtaining credit from IMF last time, Belarusian authorities did not follow with promised reforms, such as creating independent oversight institutions for privatization and for state programs. – There was no privatization. Belarus cheated IMF. – concluded Karbalevich. The political motives would explain why IMF seems to be inconsistent when it comes to Belarus and provide another credit, despite the fact that Belarus broke the deal last time, thinks the political scientist.
Another expert, Stanislav Bakhdankievich – an economist and former head of the National Bank, thinks that on the contrary to Russian loans, the IMF credit does not constitute a threat to the sovereignty of Belarus. – Russia, for cancelling the debt, expects shares in Belarusian state companies. – thinks Bakhdankievich. IMF in exchange for a loan, expects neoliberal economic reforms, which – according to Bakhadankievich will help Belarusian economy, and releasing all political prisoners and putting an end to political repressions. – Yesterday, I met with the Belarusian prime minister, and I presented him the conditions of receiving $8 billion credit. – he said. Bakhdankievich thinks that there is a $0.5 to 1 billion foreign currency deficit. – That’s why Belarus will have to introduce drastic methods of limiting import, further devaluation of ruble and formal limitations on purchasing foreign currencies. – stated Bkhdankievich. Without such measures, devaluation might be even higher.
Belarusian authorities asked Russia for a $6 billion credit, but Moscow offered only halfo f the requested Mount and over a period of three years. In the near future, Belarus can count on only $800 million. To address foreign currency deficit, Belarusian government devalued ruble by more than 50% on May 24th. This step has not solved Belarus’ economic problems.