“Tell the Truth!” to suspend negotiations about single candidate and to focus on working with electorate
On February 27th, “Tell the Truth!” civil campaign leaders announced that they were temporarily suspending participation in the negotiations about a single opposition candidate in the 2015 presidential elections.
“Tell the Truth!” suspended its participation in the negotiations about the single opposition candidate nomination in the upcoming presidential elections, which means in 2013 the single candidate will hardly be nominated. “Tell the Truth!”, “For Freedom” movements and the Belarusian People’s Front will focus on working with electorate and preparing for the local elections.
“Tell the Truth!” explained its withdrawal from the negotiations process by the lack of fruitful results in the short term. One part of the opposition, led by Anatoly Lebedko and the United Civil Party, insists on holding primaries, but other political forces do not support the idea. The BPF and “For Freedom” are not ready to decide about the procedure or to nominate Milinkevich. Other opposition parties are far from clear views in this regard.
Paradoxically, it is possible, that “Tell the Truth!” is trying to speed up the process of identifying a candidate from the coalition of the three – “Tell the Truth!”, “For Freedom” and the BPF. “Tell the Truth’s!” coalition partners nevertheless continue taking part in the single opposition candidate nomination process. BPF Chairman Mr. Yanukevich and Deputy Chairman of the “For Freedom” movement Mr. Gubarevich support negotiations to determine a single candidate.
At the same time, “TT”, “FF” and the BPF called for cooperation in the forthcoming elections to the local Councils, which may kick off as early as December 2013. In preparation to these elections “TT” plans to enhance its strategy “civil contract” and to nominate over 1000 candidates to the local Councils.
As for the joint actions of all opposition, in 2013 they will be limited to participation in quasi-political projects, such as the celebration of the memorable historical events: Kalinowski’s appraisal, 95th Anniversary of the BPR, and the Freedom Day.
The rapid increase in wages has led to a decline in the ratio between labour productivity and real wages to one. Previously, the rule was that enterprises, in which the state owned more than 50% of shares in the founding capital, were not allowed increasing salaries if this ratio was equal to or less than one. The authorities are unlikely to be able to meet the wage growth requirement without long-term consequences for the economy. Hence, the government is likely to contain wage growth for the sake of economic growth.
According to Belstat, In January – August 2017, GDP growth was 1.6%. The economic revival has led to an increase in wages. In August, the average monthly wage was BYN 844.4 or USD 435, i.e. grew by 6.6% since early 2017, adjusted for inflation. This has reduced the ratio between labour productivity and real wages from 1.03 in January 2017 to 1 in the first seven months of 2017. This parameter should not be less than 1, otherwise, the economy starts accumulating imbalances.
The need for faster growth in labour productivity over wage growth was stated in Decree No 744 of July 31st, 2014. The decree enabled wages growth at state organizations and organizations with more than 50% of state-owned shares only if the ratio between growth in labour productivity and wages was higher than 1. Taking into account the state's share in the economy, this rule has had impact on most of the country's key enterprises. In 2013 -2014 wages grew rapidly, which resulted in devaluation in 2014-2015.
Faster wage growth as compared with growth in labour productivity carries a number of risks. Enterprises increase cost of wages, which subsequently leads to a decrease in the competitiveness of products on the domestic and foreign markets. In construction, wholesale, retail trade, and some other industries the growth rate of prime cost in 2017 outpaces the dynamics of revenue growth. This is likely to lead to a decrease in profits and a decrease in investments for further development. Amid wage growth, the population is likely to increase import consumption and reduce currency sales, which would reduce the National Bank's ability to repay foreign and domestic liabilities.
The Belarusian government is facing a dilemma – either to comply with the president’s requirement of a BYN 1000 monthly wage, which could lead to new economic imbalances and could further affect the national currency value, or to suspend the wage growth in order to retain the achieved economic results. That said, the first option bears a greater number of negative consequences for the nomenclature.
Overall, the rapid growth in wages no longer corresponds the pace of economic development. The government is likely to retain the economic growth and retrain further growth in wages. Staff reshuffles are unlikely to follow the failure to meet the wage growth requirement.