Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Government increases supplement to minimum pensions


The Council of Ministers has issued a directive providing for the supplement to the minimum pensions to be increased from 15 to 20 percent of the average before-tax monthly pay on June 1.

Average old-age pension has been set at 25 percent of the per-capita Subsistence Minimum Budget (SMB), said the press office of the Council of Ministers. The rates of the other types of retirement pension, including disability pension, survivor's pension and pension for the length of service, have been set as a percentage of the SMB, the press office said.

The 15-percent pension supplement was established in 1999.

The larger supplement will require 10.3 billion rubels at present and 72.1 billion rubels before the end of the year, the press office said, adding that the Social Security Fund of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security had the necessary funds.

Pursuant to Alyaksandr Lukashenka's presidential edict, retirement pensions are to be raised by 13.7 percent on the average on June 1, or by 80,500 rubels to 669,800 rubels ($136 at the National Bank's official exchange rate as of May 30).

According to the National Statistics Committee, monthly retirement pensions averaged out at 586,500 rubels ($194) in February, when the official exchange rate of the Belarusian rubel was 3,022 per US dollar. On May 23, the National Bank set the rate at 4,930 rubels, devaluing the national currency by 56 percent.

Pensions in Belarus were last raised on November 1, 2010, in what was widely viewed as an attempt by Mr. Lukashenka to secure additional votes in the December 14-19 presidential election. His opponents warned that this and other populist measures of the government would lead to serious economic problems immediately after the election, including the acceleration of inflation.

Iryna Kanhro, deputy head of the National Statistics Committee, said on May 20 that consumer prices had already risen by more than 15 percent since the beginning of the year.

They went up by 3.9 percent in the past week alone, Ms. Kanhro said. If the prices continue to rise at the current pace, the government’s inflation forecast for the year, 7.5 to 8.5 percent, will be exceeded manifold, she noted.