Updated at 18:07,08-09-2017

Economic growth is not top priority this year, prime minister says

Naviny.by

The government views financial stability and an export surplus as greater priorities than economic growth this year, Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said in the House of Representatives on November 10.

Belarus has had slower-than-expected economic growth this year, he acknowledged. The country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by just 1.5 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared with the government-set annual target of 3.3 percent.

Mr. Myasnikovich announced that industrial output growth was picking up pace. "One cannot say that we have taken our ease and don’t seek to meet the targets," he stressed.

The prime minister expressed concern about the current depreciation of the Russian ruble, which he said has hit Belarusian exporters hard. "Ninety-two percent of export proceeds from Russia is in the Russian ruble. The ruble's depreciation should have led to appropriate changes in the Russian market. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. [Belarusian] companies have sought to find other markets because of this," he said.

Belarus' exports to Russia have been impeded by the strengthening of the Belarusian rubel against the ruble, according to Mr. Myasnikovich. "There's a very difficult combination of factors that requires companies to make serious decisions," he said.