An economic breakthrough is unlikely to happen in the near future.
Lukashenka said before yesterday's meeting of the Security Council that he wanted to hear the government's answers to the questions when the economic growth would resume and what we should do to avoid a repeat of the situation that led to problems. Charter97.org asked Leadnid Zaika the head of the analytical centre Strategy, to answer these questions.
– Mr Zaika, when do you think the significant growth will resume? Is it possible with the current economic model?
– If the government is able to notice the peculiarities of the situation, in current conditions, amid crisis, it should lower taxes, give up a lot of expensive programmes and cut budget expenditures. If it does so, it will be easier to achieve the growth. If it continues to raise taxes, what we see now, to support the ineffective employment and sponsor many enterprises, the period of the crisis will take a longer time.
– Can anything really change if the government admits there are serious problems in economy?
– Lukashenka's statements that we need to get rid of some sores in economy were made for population. What does “sores” mean? These are not sores. It is a serious disease. It's not cancer, but it is rather complicated. We need a systematic approach, but they reduced everything to a large-scale modernisation. It is expensive. It is even more expensive than hockey. I think it distorts the situation.
– In you opinion, what should Lukashenka and the government do not to distort the situation, but to improve it?
– The matter is that Lukashenka does not play and does not tend to play the role of the country's main economist. The government behaves like an obedient student who repeats words after his “teacher”. It plans high percents, but it doesn't matter. The GDP growth planned by the government makes no sense. We need quality changes instead of fractions of a percent amid crisis and this tectonic shift. Focusing on percents is a thing of the past. The main thing now is to figure out what growth areas have been created and if we have development prospects for the future. For example, we have prospects for manufacturing 3D printers. The second question is why we produce cars of Toyota Corolla type on the basis of a Chinese clone. Why didn't we begin the production of Tesla electric cars and so on? If we put several questions, we will see that the Belarusian economy has no serious and powerful drivers.