The parliament of the 5th convocation in Belarus is completing its work, but before handing over the authority the MPs need to adopt and endorse the main financial document of the next year - the budget.
Lyudmila Dobrynina, chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Budget and Finance of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly Budget and Finance:
An approach that is chosen today, the basic scenario, is really balanced, realistic. As for priority payments - wages, pensions, allowances, corresponding charges, utility bills, food, medicine - of course, this is our main task [to secure them] and they will be provided in full. Salaries in the public sector will grow too.
The draft budget was adopted in the first reading.
Yevgeny Pustovoi, CTV:
Figuratively speaking, the budget 2017 will consist of two compartments. One is payments on credit obligations. The second is social payments, salaries, funding of schools and hospitals. Everything is as usual, with only one remark: experts were guided by the pessimistic scenario. But as soon as we get additional incomes they will be sent on social benefits.
In any case, teachers, doctors and scientists in Belarus are expected to receive wage increase. Their areas are expected to get better financing.
Natalia Kochanova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
When it comes to science, education, sports, health care, their financing is expected to grow.
Undoubtedly, public sector workers will get salary increases, by 9%.
So I think that the budget that is now under deputies' consideration is quite real.
Vladimir Zinovsky, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Belarus:
As for the main indicator, the gross domestic product, it is expected to grow by 1.7%. It is a little out of the five-year format, because the base of gross domestic product is less than 100%, as expected. But in our forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 the missing part of the projected figure for gross domestic product will be replenished.
Another monetary topic is the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble for 2017. According to the forecasts of the main banking regulator, the Belarusian currency will continue to be tied to the basket of currencies and it may weaken by 3-4% in relation to the Russian ruble by 3-4%. It will improve the competitiveness of our products.
Commercial loans will be at a rate of up to 19%, soft loans at 12%. And the most anticipated news is the growth of the labor pension. In 2017 it will be increased two times.
Vladimir Shitko, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus on Budget and Finance:
Of course, we still tried to save completely those priorities that were in 2016. That is, to completely secure payment of pensions in full. A small increase will take place, two times a year; pensions are expected to gradually rise by 5-6%. But if we can increase it more, we will do it.
An interesting fact is that the Council of the Republic, the upper chamber of Belarus parliament, has worked on and approved 414 laws in 2012-2016.
And half of them are aimed at the development of Belarus' economic potential.