Seeking IMF loan: Lukashenka not ready to reform social sphere in Belarus

Belarus will not abandon the social state scheme, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Peter Dohlman, IMF Mission Chief for Belarus, on Tuesday.

The state is not about to break down the social state scheme whether the International Monetary Fund likes it or not, he stressed.

“The thing is that we cannot leave a single child, a single elderly person, a single person with disabilities without assistance of our society, the state. It is what the social state is all about. We cannot just push them aside,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying.

At the same time, all the other IMF proposals can absolutely be implemented in Belarus, he said.

Following the request of Belarusian authorities, a staff team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working in Belarus on November 9 – 19. Its purpose is to discuss a three-year loan program. According to Peter Dohlman, the program will focus on deep structural reforms and increasing the private sector’s role in the economy.

Belarus is seeking $3 bn IMF loan, Belarusian Finance Minister Uladzimir Amaryn said in October. The extended financing program was expected to provide for introducing structural reforms in Belarus.

Read more: No hope for loans for Belarus, reforms needed – Lukashenka’s administration top official

Over the recent years, Belarus received multi-billion loans from Russia, benefited from discounts on energy prices which were also given by Moscow. Now, however, a significant slowdown of the Russian economy makes Belarus seek financial support elsewhere.

At the same time, the Belarusian leader denied the need of structural reforms as they are ‘forced from the outside’, he said in his inauguration speech in early November.

On March 31, Belarus paid off the last installment ($75.9 mln) of the previous stand-by loan granted by the IMF.

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