Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich reported on the socioeconomic development of Belarus in January-February and prospects for 2012 at a meeting with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on 12 March.
“According to financial reports – finances are the mirror of economy – our plans for the year can reach fruition. The 5-6% GDP growth we argued so much about is in fact quite feasible. Of course, I wish the GDP growth were bigger. But we need to look at the balance of payments and the foreign trade. We should not go beyond the limits we have set. I mean we should prevent any issues on the currency and financial markets,” the President said.
Many people point out that prices in Belarus are lower than in the neighboring countries, which contributes to the outflow of goods. “We have made it clear that the prices rose enough last year; we can adjust them, but it should not be an extraordinary price hike. Prices should increase little by little and be commensurate with the growth of household income. If salaries, pensions and benefits grow, we will be able to adjust prices, but only by 0.5-1%, not more,” the President said.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized the need to step up efforts to fight inflation: “We see that we can do it. We know that if prices are not controlled, they tend to go down. We will adjust prices. Therefore, what we have is a controllable inflation”.
He underlined that Belarus should achieve a foreign trade surplus and prevent the reduction in gold and foreign currency reserves.
Mikhail Myasnikovich presented an analytical evaluation of the economic development of Belarus in January-February this year and the projections for the first quarter of the year and the entire 2012.
According to the Prime Minister, the economy is steady. Almost all industries and regions are meeting the targets. Good growth rates are seen in agriculture (6.7%), manufacturing industry.
The situation on the foreign exchange and consumer markets is stable. “We are getting a foreign trade surplus. The net inflow of currency is nearly half a billion higher than the outflow,” said Mikhail Myasnikovich.
Some promising investment projects were also discussed during the meeting.
In general, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that by the end of the first quarter of the year and the year end the targets will be met. In addition, Mikhail Myasnikovich reported to the President on the Government’s approach to develop a socioeconomic development forecast and the budget for 2013. The President instructed to work hard on the budget and all targets that have been set out for the five years. Alexander Lukashenko drew special attention to the need to increase productivity and gross value added, to ensure stable performance in the regions.