Updated at 13:16,20-05-2024

Belarus unlikely to agree on speed of reforms with IMF next year, minister says

The Belarusian government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have disagreements on the speed of reforms and are unlikely to resolve them next year, Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Jermalovič told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

According to Mr. Jermalovič, the IMF would like to see faster reforms in the public sector and a faster increase in utility rates. “Our views on the speed of these actions still differ and we do not expect to come to agreement in 2020,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Belarusian government will ask for international financial organizations’ opinion while preparing its social and economic development program for the next five years, Mr. Jermalovič noted.

“We will ask for the IMF’ and the World Bank’s opinion on how our economic policy should be implemented,” he said.

“Nothing can be rejected and taken at face value in this case,” he stressed.

“Given the objective of increasing Belarus’ GDP to $100 billion, the development of the program for the next five-year period will require unusual decisions, among other things. I hope that we will find them,” Mr. Jermalovič added.

Speaking to reporters earlier this month, Alex Kremer, the World Bank country manager for Belarus, said that the Bank recommends that structural reforms be carried out in the public sector to make state-owned companies more efficient, social security be strengthened to allow people change jobs without the fear of falling into poverty and heating rates for households be raised to 100 percent of their cost.