Money has to work. Thanks to the efforts of commercial banks and financial awareness campaigns of the National Bank these words have become an axiom for the majority of Belarusians within a very short time. Respectively their interest in various investment instruments has risen. By the way, the choice of investment instruments has substantially expanded over the last few years. While bank deposits still enjoy a massive lead, today’s market is ready to offer all kinds of supplements.
Leasing has recently come to the forefront of public attention. Decree No. 99 passed in February introduced significant changes to the operation of leasing companies. In line with the document, the National Bank will regulate the leasing market starting from September. The decree spells out requirements for the authorized capital of leasing companies. A register of such companies has already been compiled. The most dramatic change is the permission to use leasing instruments for private purposes. The high cost of loans prompted people to have a closer look at this alternative financial instrument. Many potential customers are now seriously considering leasing as an alternative to loans.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are by right called the main drivers of economic growth. In the EU and the United States these enterprises generate more than 50% of the gross domestic product. SMEs have been playing an increasingly bigger role in Belarus, too. SMEs accounted for 23% of the country’s GDP in 2013, up from 7.9% in 2005. A task was set to raise this figure up to 30%. Customer-friendly terms of financing and various business promotion programs can help achieve this goal. Chairman of the Board of MTBank Andrei ZHISHKEVICH told the Economy of Belarus Magazine what solutions banks offer to SMEs taking into account the high cost of loans, whether banks view microfinance organizations as their competitors and what banks do to win customers.
Belarus’ insurance industry has been operating to new rules for three months already. Decree No. 165 that came into force on 1 July boosted competition, enhanced the protection of policyholders, and toughened requirements for financial performance of insurance companies. The near-term objectives include the creation of a single databank and promotion of online insurance. In an interview with the Economy of Belarus Magazine Director General of the country’s biggest insurance company Belgosstrakh Sergei Yakubitsky shared his views on the development prospects of the insurance market and talked about the most popular insurance services and the services he uses.
Warm apartments, smooth supply of hot and cold water, neat entrance halls, roofs that do not leak, fair and transparent tariffs, attentive and helpful utility workers. Disappointed and long-suffering users of utility services do not believe this is possible. However, this is the major goal of the reforms of the housing and public utilities sector. The reforms have already been launched and are gaining ground.
The formation of an information society is one of Belarus’ national priorities. In 2015 Belarus intends to become one of the top 30 countries with a high level of development of information and communication technologies. A major step to reach the top 30 countries has already been made. The penetration rate of mobile communication and broadband Internet access in Belarus exceeds that in the majority of the CIS states. Tremendous work has been done to liberalize the market of telecommunication services, switch to digital television, and create a digital government. More details about the results and tasks of the country’s IT promotion strategy are revealed in an interview of the Economy of Belarus Magazine with Belarusian Information Technologies and Communications Minister Sergei POPKOV.
More and more people prefer country houses over high-rise buildings in a noisy city center. Indeed, detached dwellings account for half of residential housing in developed market economies. Belarus is no exception. As the living standards are improving and the country is switching to market forms of property ownership, the interest in detached houses is increasing. It is absolutely natural. After all, a detached home is the best way to meet your individual needs and preferences, like the number of rooms, the size and layout of a house. You can also set the pace of construction or expand the house later if needed. Besides, living in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of a city, is another significant advantage of a detached house over an appartment in a high-rise.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Turkey Andrei SAVINYKH believes that our country could become a springboard for Turkish companies seeking access to the market of the future Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the markets of other CIS member states. The diplomat told the Economy of Belarus Magazine what economic sectors are most attractive for Turkish investors, how Turkish farmers tested Belarus tractors, why MAZ’ new buses are perfect for resort towns and why Belarusian universities should start competing for Turkish students right away.
Located in the center of Europe, Belarus serves as a bridge between the European Union, Russia and Asia Pacific. Experts view the country as “European Panama”, the shortest way from one “ocean” into another. The efficient use of the favorable geographic location can improve Belarus’ image on the international market of transportation services and bring substantial revenues for the country’s budget. Belarus is busy expanding transport corridors, as this may give a powerful impetus to the country’s economic growth. Over the past years our country has made substantial progress in this field. However, a number of important issues still have to be addressed to make Belarus even more attractive for international forwarders.
It is impossible to imagine modern-day life without high-quality textiles, tablecloths and bedclothes. An extensive choice of textile products on the world market makes it increasingly difficult to win over and retain customers. Therefore, it takes a lot of effort to build customer trust, secure a foothold on the domestic market, penetrate foreign markets, and to compete with leading light industry manufacturers. One also needs to keep up with modern technologies and marketing trends. With this in mind, Baranovichi Cotton P.A. launched an investment project in 2012 with a view to replacing outdated technological equipment and improving the product quality. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a new brand. The name of this brand will be revealed later.
It is an open secret that Belarus earns hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars every year by exporting literally tonnes of dairy products to CIS and non-CIS states. The Mogilev-based dairy company Babushkina Krynka, which products are well-known in Russia, France, and even China, makes an essential contribution to these earnings.
Slightly more than a year has passed since the collapse of the Belarus-Russia potash cartel. Uralkali’s withdrawal from the Belarusian Potash Company and its new strategy “product volume above prices” delivered a heavy blow to the entire potash market. Stock shares of the global potash producers lost an estimated $20 billion. The average price for potassium chloride in H2 2013 shrank by a quarter down to $300 per tonne, while customers took a wait-and-see approach expecting good deals. Belaruskali had to cope with an additional challenge – the loss of the established sales network. However, the Belarusian giant pulled through. Over this period Belarus’ share in the global potash export reduced by merely two percentage points down to 14% from the traditional 16%. The company has proved that it can operate successfully on the global market on its own.
State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota tells the Economy of Belarus Magazine about short-term plans and major priorities of the Union State and its cooperation prospects with the Eurasian Economic Union.
It is difficult to overestimate the role of interregional ties in the bilateral relations between Belarus and Russia. It is an important part of integration, a significant contribution to the strengthening of the Belarusian-Russian partnership. Thanks to the cooperation between regions great opportunities open up for joint projects in various sectors of the economy, in science, culture, sport, and tourism.
The Economy of Belarus Magazine has interviewed Alexander POLUSHKIN, Senior Vice President for Project Management of the Russian merged company OAO NIAEP – ZAO ASE, to learn about the Russian state-of-the-art technologies used in today’s nuclear power engineering, about the safeguards the Belarusian nuclear power plant will implement and about the tests that the power plant will have to pass before it is commissioned.
The National Art Museum of Belarus is much more than a big art gallery with some of the biggest collections in Eastern Europe. The museum is a huge cultural and educational center. Since it was established, it has considerably expanded its collections and premises. The museum’s holdings include over 30,000 masterpieces of Belarusian and foreign art. The museum offers a variety of exhibitions, lectures, interactive tours, meetings with art experts. A children’s art studio has been working there for 20 years already. The museum helps compile books and albums about art. Having marked its 75th anniversary this year, the museum is determined to preserve its status as the country’s top fine arts sanctuary with an increased focus on research and restoration projects.
No matter how many tourists have visited Belarus this year, 80,000 hockey fans who came to Minsk for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will take a special place among them. This is an unprecedented number of visitors the country and its capital city have ever hosted within a short period of time. According to the State Border Committee, about 31,000 fans came from the West visa-free. The rest came from the East.
When you come to Vitebsk for the first time, the best point to start sightseeing is the Kirov Bridge connecting the banks of the Western Dvina River. Standing in the very middle of this famous arch bridge that was built in 1863-1867 you will certainly enjoy a stunning view of the ancient city. Before the Great Patriotic War the bridge had metal arches that resembled an intricate lace ornament. For Vitebsk residents this mundane facility was a piece of art, something they were immensely proud of. From the Kirov Bridge the city looks like an old-style postcard, romantic and heartwarming, with magnificent temples on high steep hills rising above the old city, and a serene river blissfully flowing across numerous parks and gardens… However, there is much more than meets the eye.
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