Updated at 17:39,28-11-2020

Authorities adopt fresh anti-inflation program

Maryna Nosava, Naviny.by

Authorities adopt fresh anti-inflation program
The Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Belarus have adopted a fresh program to keep inflation in check.

The cabinet's press office said on Thursday that the program was aimed at "creating conditions for sustainable economic growth and competition development and bringing down inflation expectations."

It contains measures to slow down the pace at which government-regulated prices are increasing, improve the tax policy by making it more transparent and predictable over the medium term, develop competition and reduce monopolistic activity, and reduce inflation expectations and raise trust in the government's economic policy.

The program sets an annual inflation target of four percent for the medium term.

In accordance with the program, changes are to be made to the Banking Code to increase the National Bank's independence and responsibility for measures to prevent high inflation. Efforts will be taken to raise the public's trust in the ruble and expand its use for the purpose of securing economic growth without inflation, said the press office.

Speaking this past March, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that the rise in consumer prices continued to be problem number one for ordinary people.

“People don’t care what the general inflation rate in the country is,” he said at a government conference. “They draw conclusions from the prices of the goods they buy every day. And those prices rise by at least eight to 10 percent a year. And if we look at the prices of services, they rise even stronger, not by 4.5 or six percent. That is why the rise in prices for households remains problem number one. Just like four months ago, my directive for the head of the National Bank is to reduce inflation expectations.”

“It is not only necessary to provide statistical data, but also to analyze the situation and draw conclusions about the problems that prevent us from going forward,” Mr. Lukashenka noted.

According to the National Statistical Committee (Belstat), last year saw the lowest inflation rate in the history of sovereign Belarus at 4.6 percent.

Consumer prices reportedly rose by 10.6 percent in the country in 2016.

The government projected consumer prices to rise by no more than six percent in 2018 (2.7 percent in Q1, 4.1 percent in Q1-2 and 4.3 percent in Q1-3).

According to Belstat, consumer prices rose by 2.8 percent in January-August 2018.