Belarus and Chinese Exim Bank signed an agreement on a number of lending projects worth over $ 1 billion. In particular, they signed an agreement to provide consumer credit of USD 654 million to build a plant for the production of bleached sulphate cellulose at JSC “Svetlogorsk”.
A loan agreement for USD 340 million was also signed to finance the reconstruction of the road M-5/E271 Minsk-Gomel. Also, an agreement was concluded regarding the project “Electrification of Gomel-Zhlobin-Osipovichi and Zhlobin-Kalinkovichi” for USD $ 64 million (first stage).
Previously adopted plans and programs regarding modernization of enterprises and infrastructure needed to be implemented to an extent. In this regard, the Chinese loans are fairly accessible. However, besides positive aspects, there are negative. It increases the total credit debt and external debt of enterprises and the government. Loans need to be repaid, for instance, “Belenergo”, received USD 3 billion of Chinese loans in the past, now it has a very big problem repaying it. The dependency on Chinese loans and China in particular is increasing. In addition, Chinese loans mean that 80-90% of the money will return to Chinese companies. Also, experts often complain about the lack of transparency of transactions, as well as about high (European level) costs for Chinese quality of services.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.