A calm and orderly conduct of the redenomination in Belarus is important including from a political point of view, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko during a working meeting with Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov and chairman of the National Bank of Belarus Pavel Kallaur.
The head of state noted that Belarus was preparing for the redenomination for several years, and it was proposed to hold it on January 1, 2017. However, it was rescheduled for July 1, 2016.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I want to tell you the main thing. You can tell me anything here, but know one thing: if the economy stops its operation, if it stalls, people will curse you, and you know what my reaction will be too. You know that. So you know that the economy should work. All systems should be normal, transparent, understandable, and well-perceived by our partners, including those with western market economy. I do not deny it. But the economy should work. Information is coming to me that this is not the case everywhere.
The second issue that I care about is the redenomination. I am getting information that the National Bank and the Government have carried out decent work. The system is ready to switch to a new currency and the people is waiting. Therefore, this is a serious political point. We need to organize all this well. I think you will tell me about it today. And do not forget that we are conducting these somewhat unpopular measures on the eve of a political campaign, the parliamentary elections. This suggests that we are not afraid of anyone. We are statesmen, not some fringe politicians. Statesmen always think about the prospects of the state's development.
The President reminded the economic bloc that one must not allow price hikes. In two weeks, Belarusians will get new currency. Notes will have six visible protection layers and coins will appear for the first time in the history of independent Belarus. Last time Belarusians had coins was in Soviet times, until the early 1990s.
Nevertheless, old notes will not immediately disappear from circulation. Until the year end these old notes will be in circulation in stores and banks. Then, for another three years, old notes will be exchanged for new ones only in banks. The National Bank will continue this practice until 2021.
Pavel Kallaur, chairman of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus:
The payment system is ready, the money has been transported to banks and terminals and cash registers are almost ready. There may be some hitches on the night of July 1. They will concern first and foremost the work of payment cards and ATMs. But this will be until about 7a.m.