Russia’s tax maneuver will not result in the collapse of the Belarusian economy, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Monday after hearing out a report on the 2019 budget law.
Belarus may lose BYN 630 mln in 2019 and even up to $8-12 bn by 2024 over the tax maneuver. Russia counts on completing it by 2025. It provided for a gradual zeroing of export duties on oil and an increase in the tax on the extraction of natural resources. The tax maneuver is not in the interests of the Belarusian budget, since it entails an increase in the price of oil for Belarus. This will result in the Belarusian refineries receiving raw materials at world prices and losing their advantages over competitors outside the Eurasian Economic Union.
“I am alarmed by the concerns of Belarusians. I would like to say openly that there are absolutely no reasons for concern. This is our problem, the problem of the government of the country, and we must handle it. Nothing will collapse even in a worst-case scenario. As for 2019, there is nothing to talk about. People should live and work as usual,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes the Belarusian leader.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka promised that there would be ‘no catastrophe’ in any case. At the same time, he stressed the need to reshape Belarus’ domestic and foreign policy, ‘especially in the financial sector’.
Earlier, on December 11, Russian-Belarusian negotiations about tax maneuver loss compensation and gas discounts were thwarted in Moscow. On December 11, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak refused to discuss these issues with the Belarusian delegation “until fundamental decisions are taken on the further integration of Russia and Belarus within the framework of the Union State”.
Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia was ready to further deepen integration with Belarus, which many perceived as a threat to the country’s sovereignty.