The National Statistics Committee has recently published welcome news – in H1 2018, the revenues of Belarusian enterprises exceeded those of last year. Total net profit of Belarus increased by 2%.
However, the committee ‘forgot’ to add one important detail to its official press release. At the same time, the loss of unprofitable organizations grew twofold. In general, compared with the same period last year, the return on sales in the Belarusian economy deteriorated.
“These development indicators show a decline in the competitiveness of Belarusian enterprises in the domestic market and in foreign markets,” Alyaksandr Mukha, a representative of businessforecast.by, said.
As a result, despite the increase in sales, Belarusian enterprises are facing more and more difficulty paying off banks and suppliers. This year, overdue accounts payable increased by more than 0.5%. The total of unpaid loans to banks grew by 1.5%. All these factors directly affects ordinary Belarusians.
“Their incomes remain low, and opportunities to improve their well-being are limited,” economist Leanid Frydkin said.
In regard to non-payments, the official statistics shows only the tip of the iceberg. As an example, in July, Belarusbank delayed BYN 300 mln loan payments to Krasnaselski cement plant, which equals to 75% of the budget funds allocated to medicare. In statistical data, these payments are no longer considered past due, but the state does have to plug a hole in Belarusbank finances.
“We are now witnessing taking only selective measures and actions. There are direct cash infusions in some enterprises, but, in this case, I believe it is very important to focus on carrying out structural and market reforms in order to increase the competitiveness of Belarusian enterprises,” Alyaxandr Mukha stressed.
According to iindependent experts, the problems were sensitive even against the background of extremely favourable conditions in foreign markets and the big energy subsidy from Russia. In H2, the situation may aggravate. The devaluation of the Russian ruble will further make the financial state of Belarusian enterprises worse. Speaking long-term, the drop in oil prices and the tax maneuver in Russia can cause one of the worst economic crises in the recent history of Belarus.