Authorities set to reform system of support for state-owned companies

The Belarusian government has drawn up measures to reform the way it provides economic support...

The Belarusian government has drawn up measures to reform the way it provides economic support to state-owned companies, BelaPAN has learned.

In particular, the authorities have plans to "separate the functions of the state as a regulator and a proprietor."

At present sectoral ministries are encouraged to support state-owned companies under their control by allocating financial resources through their directives, which makes their use less efficient.

In this context, the authorities consider establishing an agency that would manage all state-owned companies.

In addition, the government contemplates abandoning "individual forms" of state support for state-owned companies and starting to provide such support only to those selected on a competition basis.

Independent economists have welcomed the proposed measures. "The existing industrial policy allows the government to provide support nearly to any company. We see that state assistance has reached enormous proportions, while its mechanism is not transparent and understandable," said Alyaksandr Chubryk, of the Minsk-based Privatization and Management Institute.

"Underperforming [state-owned] companies have priority access to public funds. As a result, financial and labor resources in the economy are allocated not to the most efficient sectors of the economy," Dzmitry Kruk, an economist at the Minsk-based Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC), told BelaPAN.