International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts welcome the steps taken by the Belarusian government and the National Bank of Belarus to secure a single equilibrium exchange rate of the rubel, Chris Jarvis, head of the IMF mission to Belarus, said at a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich in Minsk on October 14.
Mr. Jarvis is leading a team of IMF experts who have been staying in Belarus since October 5 to study the economic situation in the country.
Mr. Myasnikovich confirmed that Belarus was interested to receive $3 billion to $7 billion in an IMF loan, according to the press office of the Council of Ministers.
The meeting focused on the Belarusian government’s economic policy, forecasts for the development of the Belarusian economy in 2012 and prospects for further cooperation between the country and the IMF.
The economic policy conducted by the government takes into account the recommendations laid out in the concluding statement of the Fund’s post-program monitoring mission, the press office said, noting that Belarus had a zero-budget deficit in the first eight months of this year.
The government promises that the amount of money printed to finance its programs would not exceed four percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product this year. Measures have been taken to secure a single equilibrium exchange rate of the Belarusian rubel, including the introduction of the additional trading session at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange.
The government has nearly completed the establishment of the Development Bank, which will be used to finance state programs and is expected to start operation in the near future. The National Investment and Privatization Agency has already started operation and is working to prepare eight state-owned enterprises selected by World Bank experts for privatization.
The system of providing state targeted aid to the needy has also been improved, according to the press office.
Mr. Myasnikovich promised that the government and the National Bank would continue conducting tight monetary and fiscal policies and sharply limit the printing of money for financing state programs in 2012. The government expects an export surplus of $1.8 billion and a zero-deficit budget next year, he said, adding that much attention would be devoted to further economic liberalization, its restructuring and the development of the private sector.
The IMF team is scheduled to sum up the results of its work in Belarus next week.