Belarusian economy: pretty figures, empty wallets

The government cannot boast of high growth in gross domestic product yet. Moreover, the GDP only declined in recent years. Here are the first official estimates for this year: in January-April, the economy grew only by 0.5%.

Earlier, Prime Minister Andrei Kabyakou made the forecast for the entire 2017 – GDP growth at 1.7%. But the optimism of the Government is not shared by the international financial institutions: the IMF, the World Bank, Eurasian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — all of them had predicted a fall in the Belarusian economy in 2017. Calculation of GDP in the Belarusian economic policy context is also a contestable issue.

New information of the National Statistics Committee about the growth of industrial production at nearly 5.5% in the first four months of the year is also questionnable.

Against this backdrop, for more than two years, real income of the population has been falling. In the first quarter of the year there was recorded a decrease of more than 2%; Belarusians continue to withdraw foreign currency deposits from the banks.

There are also no structural reforms in the public sector, where the loss-making enterprises absorb cheap loans and subsidies. This support would be beneficial for the promising organizations.

Tatyana Reut, “Belsat”

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