Funding of state programmes
The launch of the Development Bank should improve the effectiveness of state support programmes and, consequently, the macroeconomic stability in general. However, it is likely that industry lobbyists will accommodate the new rules of financing of state programmes to fit their needs.
A joint Resolution of the Government and National Bank No 14/1 of January 5, 2012 approved the terms and conditions of financing of projects, listed as state support programmes by the “Development Bank of Belarus”. The document stipulates the Development Bank will fund the state programmes on its own behalf and at its own expenses.
In this regard the statement of the Chairman of the Board of the National Bank Nikolay Luzgin speaks for itself, “Certain stabilization makes some business executives and government officials feel euphoria and complacency. They start applying for all sorts of programmes, construction sites, irrelevant of their cost recovery in foreign currency. They start applying for loans, naturally for preferential ones, via the state programmes. However the situation remains rather complicated”.
The Banks’ priorities include loans for state programmes for housing construction in rural areas, agricultural development, the creation or development of high-tech industries. The volumes of funding within these state programmes, and sources of funding are defined in the draft budget of the Development Bank in compliance with the annual plan of financing of state programmes, which is determined by the Government.
However, the document emphasizes that the decision on funding of projects listed in the state programmes should be taken directly by the Development Bank and in the case of an outstanding debt of an applicant to the Development Bank regarding loans issued previously, new loans will not be granted. The Bank also has the right to suspend loan transfers under previously signed contracts.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.