Powers of State Bodies Extended in the Order of State-owned Property, but Privatization of Main State Assets held by Lukashenko

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April 22, 2016 18:13

On June 4, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed Decree No 294 \"On the Order of Disposal of State-Owned Property\". The decree extends the powers of state bodies on order of disposal of state-owned property. Now the government will have right to alienate state property worth more than 10 thousand basic units and personal property worth more than 30 thousand basic units. Nevertheless, Lukashenko has left himself the right to take decisions on the alienation of shares of the main state assets.

The new decree extends the government’s authority, which will help motivate state bodies in carrying out the privatization of state movable and real property. It will also speed up corresponding privatization procedures. 

However, the President’s decree should not be overestimated. Firstly, the demand for state-owned property among foreign and local investors is still low. According to the State Property Committee of Belarus, in January-May 2012 no transactions for the sale of state-owned property to non-residents of Belarus had been made. In 2011, the sale of real state-owned property to foreign investors amounted to only USD 0.4 million.

Secondly, under the decree, Lukashenko has a right to decide on the privatization of shares of companies and state enterprises as property complexes. As of May 25 2012, on the list of joint stock companies with a stake of the Republic of Belarus in the authorized share capital are 787 open joint-stock companies (JSC). Please see Table 1 for the top ten enterprises with a state share.

Table 1

Rating of major Belarusian JSCs with government’s stake in the authorized share capital (excluding banks) 

No.

Company

Revenue in 2011,
USD, millions.
1

Average number of employees, people

Government’s stake, %

1

Naftan

3530,2

12386

99,83094

2

Mozyr oil processing plant

2856,4

4328

42,75681

3

Belaruskali

2267,5

18589

100

4

MAZ

1266,0

22227

100

5

GrodnoAzot

992,3

10873

99,96783

6

Belarusian Autoworks

871,0

12058

100

7

Belshina

842,7

12766

100

8

Mogilevkhimvolokno,

424,5

7442

89,195

9

Gomeltransneft Druzhba

291,3

1384

100

10

Minsk Motor Plant

277,1

6044

100

1 –The calculation is based on the average weighted rate of the Belarusian ruble in 2011 - BYR 6075.94 per USD 1. (Our own estimation in view of the shadow segment of the foreign exchange market)

 

Thus, the main issues related to the privatization of state assets in Belarus will continue to be in the competence of the incumbent president. 

However, under the agreements with the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund, during 2012 Belarus has to privatize state-owned assets worth at least USD 2.5 billion; in January-September 2012, the sum is to amount to not less than USD1.2 billion.

In order to increase privatization revenues, Belarus State Property Committee will hold first auctions in the current year to sell shares of 14 companies which investors find attractive. The actions are due in August. President will take a final decision on privatization of each plant which will be sold by auction or tender.

It should be pointed out that in the current year Belarus rejected its privatization plan for 2011-2013. At present, any company can be privatized on condition that there is a particular investor and a company’s market value has been estimated.

It can be assumed that in 2012 Belarus will fulfill the plan for privatization of state assets, mainly due to sale of shares of mobile operator MTS and the transfer of 75% minus 1 share of MAZ to a newly established Belarusian-Russian holding “Rosbelavto”. 

However, there is a negative point as well. Work on creating the IPO of the Belarusian Automobile Plant has been suspended due to political disagreements with the EU. Previously a German bank Deutsche Bank had been viewed as possible organiser of the IPO. In 2011 it refused to cooperate with the Belarusian authorities.

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Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries entangle in confrontation spiral
October 02, 2017 11:57
Фото: RFRM

Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.

The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.

Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.

For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.

Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.

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