A general contract for construction of nuclear power plant in Belarus has been signed. Now Medvedev is eager to speed up the privatization of Belaruskaliy.
Belaruskaliy should be offered to investors at a “market price”
“A decision on the privatization [of Belaruskaliy] is long overdue. One cannot avoid doing this anyway,” the Russian Prime Minister said at the press conference following a meeting of the Belarusian-Russian Union State’s Council of Ministers at a government residence near Minsk.
Mr. Medvedev recalled plans by Belarus and Russia to establish Soyuzkali, a new joint company that would sell potash fertilizers in foreign markets. “Apart from this, this may also involve the participation in privatization, if the Belarusian government makes an appropriate decision,” Medvedev stressed.
A stake in Belaruskali should be offered to investors at a “market price” and with consideration for “real market conditions”, the former Russian president added.
Speaking on the subject on July 17, 2012 president Aliaksandr Lukashenka said that he was ready to sell a stake of up to 25 percent at a price of $8.5 billion to $9 billion. “But everybody wants to buy the entire company for $8 billion,” he said. “I tell them goodbye. There are no such prices. It is my principled stance.”
How will the scandal over solvents be handled?
If there are violations of agreements in the export by Belarus of petroleum products, those responsible should be brought to account, Dmitry Medvedev said. “We agreed to thoroughly sort everything out and make decisions even if they are very difficult,” Medvedev said, pointing out that “the economic interests should be restored.”
According to the agreement on cooperation under the Common Economic Area, our country receives Russian petroleum and petroleum products duty free. However, Belarus is obliged to transfer 100 per cent of customs duty on petroleum products of Russian crude oil which are exported to non-Customs Union countries to the Russian state budget.
But the category “solvents” is not on the list. At the beginning of 2012 Belarus has sharply increased their export (up to $1,7 bn). As a result, Russia took notice that Belarus had imported four times as much petroleum products as for the preceding year.
Russian officials have repeatedly expressed concern about a drastic increase in the export of solvents from Belarus. On June 15, the Russian prime minister ordered appropriate government agencies to look into the export by Belarus of petroleum products to third countries. “We are confronted with the fact that the export of organic solvents from Belarus have increased several times,” Deputy Minister Igor Shatalov said. “We fear that this merchandise is being used as a cover for exporting petroleum products.”
Very productive meeting
A general contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus was signed at the Zaslawye government residence near Minsk. It provides for the construction by Russia’s AtomStroyExport of a 2400 MW two-unit plant using VVER-1200/491 (AES-2006) pressurized water reactors on a turnkey basis.
The plant will be located in the Astravets district some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to be put into operation in November 2018 and the other one in July 2020.
Belarus and Russia earlier signed an agreement for Russia to provide a loan of up to $10 billion for a period of 25 years for the construction of the nuclear power plant, with Belarus to pay five-percent interest.