27-07-2012 09:57 Belarus
World Bank ready to help Belarus with structural reforms
The World Bank confirms its intention to continue helping Belarus in working out and implementing complex and deep structural reforms, reads a letter sent by World Bank Director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Qimiao Fan to Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The press service of the Belarusian government cited the letter as saying the World Bank is ready to continue aiding the Belarusian government in working out and implementing complex and deep structural reforms for the sake of strengthening the competitive ability and sustainable growth in the Republic of Belarus. Continuing the work started as part of the country economy memorandum, the World Bank has plans for program technical aid in matters of structural reforms. It would enable a flexible approach to providing consulting and analytical aid in the individual priority matters of the economic policy the Belarusian government has determined.
The World Bank has also confirmed readiness to aid the National Agency for Investment and Privatization in implementing the program to privatize eight specific medium-size enterprises for the sake of demonstrating advantages of competitive and open privatization procedures.
As far as the state budget and taxes are concerned, World Bank experts offer technical aid in reforming the pension system and the social aid system, improving the effectiveness of government spending on healthcare and education, improving interbudget relations and debt management.
Qimiao Fan’s letter drew attention to Belarus’ intention to join the World Trade Organization. He believes it presents a unique opportunity to tie reforms to external factors. In turn, the World Bank is ready to assist Belarus with the process. To join the WTO, Belarus will need to accept a large number of obligations to liberalize the economy and reduce the role of the state, thus increasing the need for structural reforms by itself. “We suggest sending a mission to assess specific areas where support will be needed. We will also discuss possible sources of funding for a complex support program with potential donors”.
The World Bank Director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine also gave an answer to the Belarusian government’s request to work out a new strategy for cooperation between the World Bank and Belarus. He promised he would raise the matter in the bank.
Qimiao Fan pointed out the progress in the Belarusian economy development in the last six months. He believes it is now vital to continue macroeconomic stabilization through the current rigorous monetary and fiscal policies for the sake of taming inflation pressure and reinforcing positive trends with regard to the restoration of the balance of external accounts. Taking into account the great degree of indefiniteness in the outside environment, Qimiao Fan believes that relaxing the macroeconomic policy in Belarus prematurely could entail considerable risks.