Updated at 19:56,22-01-2021

Public Advisory Council under Presidential Administration discusses economic issues


The development of the Belarusian economy in the conditions of the current crisis was discussed at the second meeting of the Public Advisory Council under the Presidential Administration, which was held in Minsk on Thursday.

Those present heard three reports, including a joint report by Stanislaw Bahdankevich, a former head of the National Bank, and Leanid Zaika, head of the Stratehiya think tank, and reports by Alyaksandr Patupa, honorary chairman of the Belarusian Union of Entrepreneurs, and Uladzimir Karahin, chairman of the Minsk Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.

"The meeting revealed a shortage of ideas in the Belarusian government," Mr. Zaika told BelaPAN. "Our report caused a neurotic reaction among government officials, who argued that it would be criminal to change something drastically amid the crisis."

"Officials apparently don’t believe themselves in measures devised by the government," Mr. Zaika said. "Interestingly, a participant proposed banning government officials from resigning to work for foreign companies or private corporations."

Mr. Zaika noted that proposals put forward in the report that he had delivered together with Dr. Bahdankevich would ultimately be used by the government, which he said would claim them as its own.

Mr. Patupa praised the meeting as useful and expressed satisfaction that Deputy Economy Minister Andrey Tur had attended it. "It would have been senseless to discuss the economy in the absence of representatives of the government," he said.

Mr. Patupa noted that members of the Council, including government officials, had supported a proposal to set up three groups of experts: on economic affairs, human rights and electoral regulations. It was also important that the resulting resolution provided for all the delivered reports to be submitted to the leadership of Belarus in their original state, without alterations, he said.

Established on January 27, the council consists of 30 members, including figures critical of the government. The first meeting of the council, which focused on rules of procedure, was held on February 6. The third meeting, expected to be held in late May or early June, is to address proposals to improve Belarus’ electoral regulations.