Government, National Bank admit smaller-than-expected budget revenues


Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Natallya Yermakova, head of the National Bank of Belarus (NBB), admitted while reporting to Alyaksandr Lukashenka on Wednesday that Belarus' national budget revenues were much smaller than expected.

Mr. Myasnikovich and Ms. Yermakova blamed the shortfall on the unfavorable situation in the foreign market and suggested a number of measures to reduce budget expenditures, according to the presidential press office. They promised that the spending cuts would not affect living standards and the functioning of the government-funded sector.

Mr. Lukashenka voiced support for their proposals and noted the need to save as much as possible and use public funds more efficiently.

Mr. Myasnikovich and Ms. Yermakova also informed the head of state about the government's and the National Bank's social and economic development plans for the end of 2013 and 2014. The plans are based on "balanced development, expedient lending to the economy and qualitative growth," the press office said.

Mr. Lukashenka said that he approved of the plans, and that the government and the NBB would bear responsibility for their implementation.

According to the finance ministry, which forecast a zero-deficit budget this year, Belarus had a national budget surplus of 0.7 trillion rubels ($79 million), or 0.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the first eight months of 2013. //BelaPAN