IMF mission concludes visit to Belarus
David Hofman, the head of the IMF mission in Belarus, led the team. Hofman met with Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Prokopovich, Chair of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Nadezhda Ermakova and Minister of the Economy Nikolai Snopkov. Other attendees included officials from the presidential administration and representatives from think tanks, businesses and the diplomatic community.
"Expansionary macroeconomic policies, slowing trade-partner growth, and falling competitiveness caused the current account deficit to reach 10 percent of (gross domestic product (GDP)) last year," Hofman said. "Meanwhile, output growth has remained low and inflation high. With high external debt payments this year, financing needs are large."
Hofman said the prospects for foreign funding are uncertain, particularly with the recent unrest in neighboring countries.
"Recognizing the challenges, the authorities have started to adjust policies," Hofman said. "In comparison to recent years, the emphasis on mandatory GDP and wage growth targets is being reduced. This is realistic and welcome."
Hofman said that decisive policy changes and deep structural reforms are needed for Belarus to achieve sustainable growth. He said the IMF will continue to work closely with Belarusian officials on these matters.