17 September 2021, Friday, 22:09
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Stanislau Shushkevich: Belarusians’ Pensions Will Depreciate

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Stanislau Shushkevich: Belarusians’ Pensions Will Depreciate
STANISLAU SHUSHKEVICH
PHOTO: CHARTER97.ORG

Many survive thanks to gardening.

Real pensions continue to fall in Belarus. In July alone, they fell 3.6% over the same period in 2020. What is the reason for such a drop?

Charter97.org asked the first head of independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich to assess the situation with pensions in the country:

- The economy of Belarus is not developing according to science, therefore, the gross domestic product is decreasing. This results in the depreciation of pensions, including by 3.6%. I didn’t know this figure, but it’s quite logical.

We should expect even greater deterioration, because inflation is there. Having received a pension on a card, I cannot exchange it at the exchange office, because there is no money there, except for 200-ruble notes. This already shows that our financial capacity is suffering.

- Many say that one has to survive on one pension, not live. How would you assess the current opportunities and position of pensioners in Belarus?

- The pensioners, with whom I communicate, live off, so to speak, gardening. With the help of summer cottages, they preserve food. They tend to buy only oil, vinegar and bread in stores, and their pension does not allow anything more. A significant part of the population today lives in great difficulty, since almost all the money needs to be spent on food, and even then it is not enough.

- Starting next year, Belarusians are expecting another increase in the retirement age and minimum insurance experience. At the same time, the authorities said that the retirement age will increase only after 2022. How do you assess this decision of the authorities?

- With the normal development of the economy and the increasing average life expectancy, the retirement age should be raised. I don't know what our numbers are and how rational this is. I think that this is a compulsory measure to save pensions, somehow pay them, maybe even pay them more by some miserable percentage. However, I believe that pensions of Belarusians will depreciate.

I know a lot of people who survive on retirement, but they are hardworking people who obtain many products through subsistence farming.

- There has been a "hole" in the budget of the Social Protection Fund for several years, due to which annual injections are required - subventions from the state budget. Why have the authorities not been able to solve this problem for so many years?

- For the economy to develop, it is required to put specialists in positions, while we put obedient people. Because of this, we have difficulties in the economy, it does not develop.

The regime wants to have an obedient government, but it does not work for the benefit of the economy, but only obeys the "leader".

- What pension system should Belarus have in the future?

- This question is very difficult to answer. These issues should be attended by professionals and specialists. If the country has prospects and growth ... And if there is no growth, then pensions cannot increase. Of course, they can increase on paper alright, but, in essence, they will fall.

It is rather difficult to answer this question, it is painstaking work. And in Belarus today there is only "painstaking" subordination, officials do not know how to do anything ... This is incompatible with normal development.