Belarus Abandoned the Shock-Inducing IMF Structural Reform Program

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Minister of Finance of the country Maksim Yermolovich stated that the government of Belarus has decided to refuse the IMF joint program of structural reforms in the republic, under which IMF loans could be allocated.

“We developed, together with IMF experts, a program of structural reforms that would correspond to the philosophy of the IMF. And in principle, our positions coincided concerning the key points, we entered the program, but we have diverged in terms of its implementation,” said Yermolovich in an interview to the “STV” TV channel.

He specified that the IMF insisted “on a more truncated time period for when these reforms had to be implemented”. “The head of state (the president of Belarus) specified that it will be a shock for our population, and this can’t be done. That’s why the government has abandoned the program with the IMF,” said the Finance Minister.

At the same time, as Yermolovich noted, Belarus continues to cooperate with the IMF within the framework of the program of the socio-economic development of the republic, which is approved by the All Belarusian People’s Assembly.

Last summer there was a pause in negotiations between Belarus and the IMF concerning the new program of cooperation assuming loans of about $3 billion at 2.28% per annum for ten years. The parties had a disagreement concerning the speed of reforms in Belarus, in particular, concerning the question of increasing tariffs for housing and communal services. The Vice-President of the National Bank of Belarus Dmitry Kalechits said that Minsk maintains a wide agenda of interaction with the IMF regarding technical support for a number of state agencies.

Meanwhile in August, after making a decision on replacing the prime minister of Belarus and a number of Deputy Prime Ministers and ministers, the president Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the former Belarusian government took a “brainless” position on tariffs in the housing sector within the framework of negotiations with the IMF on a loan program.

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