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Central state budget bill past second reading in lower chamber of Belarusian parliament

MINSK (BelTA) – The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus gave the second reading to the bill on the next year's central state budget on 19 December, BelTA has learned.

A conservative scenario for external conditions was used to put together the central state budget bill. Belarus' GDP growth rate is expected to reach 101.2%, with the average annual inflation rate at 107.4%, refinancing rate at 11% per annum, oil price at $43 per barrel, and the U.S. dollar exchange rate at Br2.038 and RUB62.3.

Chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Commission Lyudmila Dobrynina noted that it is a realistic budget considering the conditions and priorities the national economy has to work with. It is a compromise of political, economic, and social interests, believes the MP.

In line with the document the central state budget is expected to receive Br20.485 billion and spend Br19.751 billion. The budget surplus is estimated at Br733.88 million and will be spent on repaying part of the state debt.

The so-called top-priority expenses — salaries and transfers to the population, the servicing of the state debt, acquisition of medications and food, payments for utilities, and transfers between budgets — account for 65% of the consolidated budget. As much as Br10.6 billion or a third of the consolidated budget will be spent on salaries.

In 2018 the tax burden will not exceed 25.5% of the GDP and will not go past the 26% threshold specified by the social and economic development guidelines for the current five-year term.

The next year's key task is to restore economy growth, bolster the competitive ability of the Belarusian economy, and enable conditions conducive to reaching the goals specified by the 2016-2020 social and economic development program.