Belarus asks for $2-3.5 billion in three places at the same time. Possible lenders are delaying the answer, each for their own reason.
Belarusan authorities have already loaned enough money – only during this year Belarus’ external debt has increased by $130.4 million and now has reached $12.7 billion. At the same time, Belarus’ gold and foreign currency reserves are decreasing by 8.7% from the beginning of the year and make not much bigger than $4.5 billion now. Trade export is continually falling, red ink of foreign trade reaches $1.1 billion.
Today Minsk is asking money from the International Monetary Fund, from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development, and from Russia’s government. Each of them has chances to get the money; though the consequences can be different in different cases, notes famous economist LeanidZlotnikau in the talk with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.
- Belarus has as much chances for a loan as Greece does, - is mocking Leanid Zlotnikau. – Let me recall that it is a year already that the latest tranche of stabilizing loan (of approximately $440 million) of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development isn’t coming into our country. Lenders – i.e. Russia – don’t give us this tranche because Belarus doesn’t fulfill the terms for issuing the loan. And the terms are the following: liberalization of economy, privatization, establishment of shared enterprises and so on. I.e. it is similar to the situation in Greece, which doesn’t get the money due to non-fulfillment of terms of macroeconomic stability, due to extremely vast social programs that the economy cannot cope with. Both in the case of Belarus and Greece lenders are not ready to issue loans.
Leanid Zlotnikau notes that the IMF is now carefully researching what Belarus “is doing for reforming its economy”.
- IMF experts remember that they have already given us loans for reforms in 2009-2010. Belarus spent them but never introduced the reforms. And the President has recently announced that while he is in office he will support the plan-based economy, which denies everything that IMF and EFSD demand. What will the new loans be spent at? Recently we have been spending the money on two directions – first, to return of the already issued loans with high rates; secondly, for internal consumption. The country – business, state, population – consume more than the economy produces, and red ink of the balance of payment account proves that. We have to pay for excessive consumption: either by taking money from the population and by this increasing internal debt or by taking money from abroad. Officials can’t take money from the population now, but keep trying to get money from abroad.
However, Leanid Zlotnikau assumes that IMF can give money to Minsk for political reasons despite the former bad experience.
- Of course, they take their experience into account, but politics might interfere. The decisions of the IMF are taken by the US. They might decide to start a fight between Belarus and Russia and somehow turn Belarus towards the West, so to say. As we see now, Belarus is desperately demonstrating this “turn” at the international level hoping to get loans. Though, of course, it won’t get anywhere from Russia in this situation, while Russia, in its turn, has already voiced its discontent of Belarus’ not fulfilling its promises of integrating Belarusan enterprises with the Russian ones.
According to Leanid Zlotnikau, this time issue of the Russian loan will be delayed until Lukashenka gives back what he has promised.
- If he doesn’t make concessions, Kremlin will hardly give anything to Minsk.
And without external loans, Belarus will get a default and the glory of the local Greece with all the consequences.