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9 November 2011

Deficit-free budget in Belarus next year

MINSK, 9 November (BelTA) – Belarus’ budget will go deficit free in 2012. The state has enough resources to meet its social and financial commitments, Finance Minister of Belarus Andrei Kharkovets told the Council of Ministers on 8 November. “The 2012 draft budget is aimed at macro financial balance and fiscal security. The focus is put on tax policies, revenue collection and optimal distribution of state financial resources,” Andrei Kharkovets noted. The minister outlined the major tasks for the public finance sector. Among them is a balance between the budget expenditure and revenue at all levels; implementation of fiscal obligations to foreign and domestic creditors; an increase of the country gold and forex resources through a moratorium on the use of the income from the privatization of state property; enhancement of the country’s investment attractiveness; high quality of budgetary services and social protection of vulnerable categories of the population among others. Andrei Kharkovets emphasized a necessity for strict budget discipline. In his words, it is suggested to reduce tax burden on income and encourage investment of the income into further development. Thus, thanks to the reduction of the tax on income from 24% to 18%, the companies will have additional resources of Br5-6 trillion. According to the minister, the present structure of the budget revenue will remain intact in 2012. The bulk of it will be generated from VAT, the tax on income, the profit from the foreign economic activities, and the property tax. The structure of budget spending will be altered. Next year an estimated Br21.4 trillion will be earmarked to pay state and local debts (up 2.2 times on 2011). The expenditure to subsidy interest rates of the loans issued to finance public programs will make up Br11.8 trillion (twice as much as this year). Wages for public-sector employees will remain at the level of the year 2011. The government will preserve a socially-oriented structure of the national budget. Among the priority sectors will be healthcare, science and education.