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$35 per barrel of oil in Belarus' draft budget for 2017

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus' budget for 2017 has been drafted bearing in mind that oil will cost $35 per barrel. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the statement during the session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers held on 2 August to discuss the draft social and economic development forecast, the draft major monetary management guidelines, and the draft central state budget for 2017, BelTA has learned.

“The budget has been calculated bearing a conservative approach in mind: oil is expected to cost $35 per barrel on the average through the year while the Russian economy will shrink to 99% as against 2016 and the U.S. dollar will cost 75 Russian rubles. This approach to forming the state budget complies with the decision the Presidium of the Council of Ministers made in late June,” said Andrei Kobyakov.

The Belarusian head of government underlined that budget spending should be optimized. “We cannot overspend. We cannot increase the state debt. Non-priority spending in the public sector — capital investments, construction, retooling, capital repairs, territory beautification — will have to be limited as much as possible and even ruled out at times,” said Andrei Kobyakov.

In his words, the state budget needs a surplus sufficient to service the foreign exchange debts. It is also necessary to have resources to support the real sector of the economy. It is particularly necessary to stimulate export, promote Belarusian products to new markets. “For these purposes taking into account inflation despite all the difficulties the draft budget needs resources at least as large as last year's,” stated the Prime Minister.

Andrei Kobyakov underlined that the state budget should preserve its social dimension. “All the social expenses should be secured in full,” he summed up.