22 January 2018, Monday, 1:38

Ministry of Finance explains budget deficit with “potash war”


The reason for the budget deficit in 2013 was the potash war, in particular, the measures taken by the Belarusian authorities to support Belaruskali.

The statement was made by deputy minister of finance Maksim Yermalovich, who presented the report on the 2013 budget implementation.

According to him, the deficit of the 2013 budget was caused by problems with the export of potash fertilisers the country faced at the end of the year.

Yermalovich is not completely honest: Belarus didn't have big problems with potash export at the end of 2013 despite the breakup of the potash cartel with Uralkali. According to the National Statistics Committee, the export of potash fertilisers in 2013 fell to 3.437 million tonnes of active agent (5,671 million tonnes of gross weight) only by 6.3% in comparison with 2012.

Budget problems were caused by Lukashenka's decision to cancel export duties on potassium to support Belaruskali amid the decline in potassium prices in the world market provoked by the cartel collapse, AFN reports.

The export duty on potassium was 75-85 euros per tonne, but it was cancelled on September 1. As a result, the state budget lost more than 100 million dollars.

According to Yermalovich's logic, the budget problem may repeat this year, too: potassium is still not liable to export duties.

The deficit of the 2013 budget was Br2.257 trillion, or 0.4% of GDP.