Updated at 16:23,20-06-2018

Belarus may apply for new IMF loan


Belarusian authorities are expected to discuss the possibility of a new stand-by loan arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), BelaPAN said.

A joint action plan of the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) provides for holding consultations on the loan issue between October and December.

A team of IMF experts is expected to stay in Minsk between October 17 and 28 to hold post-program monitoring discussions with the Belarusian authorities as part of another review of the country’s stand-by arrangement (SBA) that expired in April 2010. A delegation of the Eurasian Economic Community's Anti-crisis Fund is expected to visit Minsk in late October to assess the implementation of a stabilization program supported by a $3-billion loan.

Belarusian authorities have indicated that they would like to obtain new loans from both the IMF and the Anti-crisis Fund.

Experts say that the adoption of the structural reform action plan on October 10 may be a "tactical step aimed at getting new loans."

It is well known that lenders are ready to give money to Belarus only on the condition that it carries out economic reform, Vadzim Iosub, who represents the official partner of online trading company Alpari in Belarus, told BelaPAN. "Some of the authors of the action plan may be sincerely interested in reform, but others see the document as a means of getting new loans," he said. "In the past, the government drew up such plans when the economic situation deteriorated."

The action plan provides for the sale of dozens of state-owned companies into private hands, restrictions on low-interest lending and reform of the pension system.

The International Monetary Fund disbursed five loan tranches totaling around $3,460 million under the stand-by arrangement in 2009 and 2010 to support the government’s stabilization program.