Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Andrey Kharkavets: Belarus had national budget deficit of 500 billion rubels in 2012.

Belarus had a national budget deficit of about 500 billion rubels in 2012, Finance Minister said in an interview published by a financial journal.

Belarus had lower-than-expected budget revenues last year because of a drop in global demand for potash fertilizers, an increase in the amount of value-added tax refunds for exporters and the rubel’s gains against major currencies, the minister explained.

He also cited a decrease in the volume of import duties and slower business activity in the country caused by a tighter macroeconomic policy. He said that some losses were offset by higher revenues from profit and excise taxes and an extra tax on potash fertilizer exports.

Mr. Kharkavets said that the government had also taken efforts to reduce its spending.

The minister stressed that Belarus had a consolidated budget surplus of 200 billion rubels in 2012. The consolidated budget includes the national budget and the Social Security Fund.