20 January 2018, Saturday, 14:25

Barys Zhaliba: Lukashenka’s moneyless return has brought devaluation closer


Presidents of other countries do not dare to credit Belarus.

Such an opinion came from an economist Barys Zhaliba as he commented for the charter97.org web-site on the outcomes of Lukashenka’s visit to Baku.

“Of course, the main issue of Lukashenka’s visit was money. Couple years ago Azerbaijan credited Belarus for $300 million for a short-term. By the way, Belarus has so far been paying all its debts in time: to the IMF, Russia or Venezuela alike. We have many creditors. So the main question is whether Aliev gave him money. When Ilham Aliyev loaned 300 million, the state media openly reported that Azerbaijan loaned money to Belarus. For now the visit has already ended, and the media reported that a whole range of agreements have been concluded on trivia. Yes, this is useful and it will not hurt, but they recently met in Minsk. If he went to Aliev again, then me, like everyone else, expected that in the person of Lukashenka we will finally get a loan. But there are no reports on that and it remains for us to guess. First thing that comes to mind: they gave no loan, judging by the lack of reports, and Lukashenka came back with empty pockets. It is, of course, very sad for the leadership of Belarus”, - the expert is convicted.

The economist emphasized that the authorities need foreign currency like they need air in the current economic situation.

“Previously those were the shipments of Azerbaijani oil to Belarus by swap contracts, but they did not justify themselves. It was the replacement for Venezuelan oil, but it appeared to be expensive. For what I got about the visit, there were no talks on oil. Although, they may later report on whether Aliev gave a loan or not. May be they decided not to report yet and discuss the details of this debt”, - Barys Zhaliba added.

The economist observed that this was not the first visit of such level made by the Belarusian ruler this month.

“The first one was to Turkmenistan. But long time passed, and nothing was reported on money either. This all shows that it is all bad with Belarusian economy. Unfortunately, it has been bad for many years, and it is not the first time Lukashenka makes such trips. At some point they were successful, but recently they have been futile. So the search for money continues. Lukashenka’s colleagues from these countries are aware of the state of affairs in Belarus. There is such a notion as creditworthiness, and they of course are cautious of whether Belarus will be able to pay back. It used to pay all the loans back in time so far, but it has been up until recently. What happens next is unknown, because we need to find at least 3-4 billion US dollars for next year. If we enter next year without foreign currency support, this will be strongly reminiscent of 2011. After the elections Lukashenka said that we did not need any IMF and we would live without loans. People remember well, what happened in 2011”, - the expert concluded.