When political and economic wars are rampant across the globe, peace and security of the nation as well as the country’s independence come to the forefront. It is necessary to mobilize all forces in order to survive, in order to keep the domestic production sector operating through the complicated conditions, in order to keep the country for the children, Belarus President Alexander LUKASHENKO stated as he visited Belarusian enterprises in late August.
Last year Belarus’ economy came under the impact of a set of fundamental and speculative factors. Falling oil prices and the devaluation of the currencies of Belarus’ major trading partners, the continuing geopolitical tensions were among the first reasons to cause the volatility on the country’s foreign exchange market. They still continue to affect all sectors of the economy. What approaches are employed in the country to minimize the negative impact, and what can be expected in the near future?
Member states of the Eurasian Economic Union have been debating the issue of socalled parallel import for a long time. Those in favor of parallel import believe it will enable conditions conducive to the free flow of goods, increase competition among traders and hence bring down prices for imports. Those opposing the idea argue that parallel import will encourage the inflow of counterfeit products, reduce business profitability due to unfair competition inside the trademark, discourage investment in manufacturing and lead to the shutdown of local enterprises.
Economic cases rarely get in the public eye. Criminal and civil cases get much more attention. Economic justice seems boring, although these cases can actually tell a lot about the state of the economy as a whole. According to the latest data, the economic courts are considering more than 1,900 bankruptcy cases, including 47 in respect of organizations or bodies with the participation of the state. What legal entities become bankrupt in Belarus most often? Is it necessary to legislate bankruptcy procedures for individuals? These and other questions are addressed to Judge of the Economic Disputes Division of the Supreme Court of Belarus Natalia Sarnavskaya.
Environmental measures, cleaning up untidy land, waste management, mineral exploration… Indeed, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection has a lot on its plate. In an interview to the Economy of Belarus Magazine, Belarus’ Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrei KOVKHUTO talks about how nature and economy fit together, how big Belarus’ oil and potash deposits are and how environmentally conscious the Belarusians are.
Belarus’ government agencies and financial institutions have been working hard to promote epayments in the country. The amount of work done in recent years is impressive. The extensive list of outlets to be equipped with payment terminals has been compiled, the “zero liability” principle and cash payment limits have been legislated, and a choice in favor of chip cards has been made at the level of the government. As a result, Belarus has become one of the CIS leaders in terms of accessibility of financial services and penetration of cashless payments. Every third retail purchase in Belarus is made with digital money. Most often, such payments are made with a bank card. Acting Director of
ZAO Payment System Belkart Vladimir GUSAROV tells the Economy of Belarus Magazine which card products are most popular in Belarus, why unconventional epayment means have not yet gained ground in our country, and how advanced the Belarusian cashless system is as compared with the neighboring states and Europe.
Belarusians have mixed feelings towards forex trade. On the one hand, they become more informed about forex market every year. Some financially active citizens have already tried their hand in trading. On the other hand, the risk of losing money is quite big. These concerns are multiplied by the lack of clear regulations in this field. Meanwhile, investment in foreign currency, securities and gold through forex brokers in other countries is a routine practice. The average daily turnover of the forex market is about $5 trillion. Of course, Belarus’ share in this market is just a drop in the ocean: about 20,000 traders and $20 million in investment. But with the decree on the OTC forex market coming into force in March 2016, the situation may change cardinally.
Life is not easy for people who owe money. Not only their exwives and obstinate creditors encourage them to pay up but also the two bills passed by the House of Representatives of the National Assembly. The bills considerably expand the authority of court bailiffs and give them new tools to collect the debts. In particular, forcible execution agencies will be granted access to information about bank accounts and other kinds of secret information and they will be able to order the defaulter’s apprehension and retrieval. Head of the Central Office for Forcible Execution of the Belarusian Justice Ministry Andrei Avdeyev shares his view of how the new measures will accelerate court enforcement proceedings and reduce costs.
Statistics reported by Belarusian mobile carriers in the last 12 months have steadily demonstrated one common trait: the traffic of mobile data services is on the rise. Two years ago after major holidays or events like New Year, Independence Day or the final of the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship mobile carriers would report the number of minutes their subscribers spent talking or the number of texts they sent. Now megabytes are the measuring stick. The fact that LTE will arrive in Belarus by the end of the year has rejoiced both mobile carriers and their subscribers. What is it all about? Why was the infrastructure operator beCloud created in Belarus? And how many movies will we be able to watch on our phones simultaneously?
Perhaps, there is hardly anyone who has not rented or bought a property. Everybody knows what it means to build, buy or save
up for a new home. Our country has a strong social policy in housing construction. For example, in 20062012 about 60% of new homes built in the country were built with government support. In 2010 Belarus
took the leading position in the CIS in terms of the volume of new residential property commissioned and was second in terms
of the provision of housing. However, in recent years the state has switched from providing massive financial support to all who need better housing to helping the most vulnerable
groups of people. Other Belarusians have been offered a variety of mechanisms to solve the housing problem.
The Krugloyebased civil engineering enterprise PMK 266 is truly one of the most famous and successful civil engineering enterprises in Belarus. You can hardly find another smallscale developer in the country that has been head and shoulders above larger companies more than once. The enterprise is on the national list of bestperforming enterprises while the company’s CEO Nikolai Patronchik has been awarded a medal for labor merits and an Order of Fatherland (Third Class), which is one of the highly coveted government awards.
Today the choice of confectionery goods in Belarusian stores is very diverse: domestic trademarks coexist with products of transnational companies and foreign firms. What are the trends in the global confectionery market? How do they impact the domestic market and the development strategy of the country’s oldest confectionary Kommunarka? The Economy of Belarus Magazine addresses these questions to Kommunarka Director General Ivan DANCHENKO.
Shoemaking is a centuriesold craft. Designing comfortable and beautiful shoes is a true art. Even now, equipped with all kinds of tools and machines, the footwear industry cannot do without true masters. Creating footwear is a long process involving a large number of specialists and a variety of materials. The Belarusian footwear industry is represented by about 20 businesses that face a number of challenges, the most important of which is competition with imports. It is clear that the domestic footwear market needs new approaches: stronger local brands, wider lineup, and a more aggressive marketing policy. How is the Joint Limited Liability Company Belwest, one of the country’s largest footwear manufacturers, coping with these challenges? The Economy of Belarus Magazine talks to Belwest General Director, the holder of the honorary title “Vitebsk Oblast Man of the Year 2014” Yuri SUMANEYEV about the new products, fashion trends and the preferences of showbiz stars.
Israel, a country with the highest living standards in the Middle East, is strongly connected with Belarus by many invisible threads from the past and, perhaps, the near future. The Belarusian and Jewish peoples share a common pain of World War II. Many Belarus’ natives have played a crucial role in politics, economy, and culture of Israel. The Belarusian land has been the birthplace of almost half the presidents and premiers of the State of Israel.
Today the two countries, according to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Israel Vladimir SKVORTSOV, “are charting” the shortest and most direct route towards robust mutually beneficial partnership. In an interview with the Economy of Belarus Magazine the Ambassador talks about kosher products, Gomel and Haifa and the roles they may play in this effort.
Belarus has accredited its first ever ambassador to Zimbabwe. This happened in early 2015 and gave a start to the rapid development of the political and economic dialogue between the two countries. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe assured Belarusian Ambassador Andrei Molchan during the credentials ceremony in Harare that his country is ready to explore and use efficiently the versatile potential
of cooperation with the new partner in the heart of Europe. All joint projects will be given targeted support at the highest level.
Extractable raw materials are treasured by every country that cares about strategic and energy security. The growing amount of data collected through geophysical exploration requires timely and comprehensive analysis. In turn, the growing complexity of mineral deposits and their gradually diminishing size make the process complicated and necessitate higher requirements for detailed studies of territories. Supercomputers with their ability to crunch numbers reliably and very fast seem to be the answer. Launched in 2015, the Belarus–Russia Union State program SKIF–Nedra is designed to guide the development and manufacturing of high–performance solutions for that purpose.
Belarus and Russia implement many promising programs as part of the single technological space of the Union State. But only one of them, Innovative Development of Potato and Topinambour Production, is about the crops which are important for the food security of Belarus and Russia.
Breakthrough ideas and technologies are the foundation of a stable economy. Belarusian scientists get substantial support from the government. Is the game worth the candle? Will new R&D help raise the competitiveness of the economy and living standards to a new level? What is the role of groundbreaking technologies in human life? The Economy of Belarus Magazine addresses these questions to Chairman of the State Science and Technology Committee Alexander SHUMILIN.
Genetic technology and human genome research have advanced rapidly. It is clear that genes lie at the heart of who we are and what we are, and therefore the interest in this area will continue growing. The role of genetics in medicine is undeniable today. It is an established fact now that all diseases (including infectious diseases, colds and even injuries) have a hereditary basis. Genetics makes its contribution to the development of forensic science. By using the PCR test it is now possible to identify an individual from the DNA traces. Belarusian and Russian scientists have rich experience in exploring the human genome. More than two years ago, when discussing the ways of further development of the domestic science, they had the idea to develop the BelarusRussia Union State DNA Identification Program which would help solve crimes and treat diseases. Today the ministries of the two countries concerned are finalizing the program which is expected to be launched early next year. In addition to the core academic institutions (Russia’s Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations and Belarus’ National Academy of Sciences), it will involve the investigation committees of Belarus and Russia and also medical institutions. Experts believe that genetic scientists and people on the ground know how to help each other and obtain a new promising product.
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