18 Mar 2022 09:34

Belarus takes steps to adapt economy to international sanctions

MINSK. March 18 (Interfax) - The Belarusian government has been given expanded powers to take urgent measures to adapt the country's economy to the negative impact of international sanctions.

"This legislative act is aimed at increasing the internal resilience of the economy, including ensuring macroeconomic and budget stability, amid unprecedented sanctions pressure related to the imposition of restrictive measures against the Republic of Belarus by foreign states," the Belarusian Finance Ministry said, commenting on presidential decree No. 93 "On additional measures to ensure the stable functioning of the economy."

The government has been given the power to make quick decisions on deadlines for payment of dividends for 2021; determining the particulars for payment of value-added tax and excises on the sale of Belarusian oil and oil products; changing payment deadlines for taxes, fees, duties and other payments to the budget; the amount of payment for provision of government guarantees on bank loans; the deferral of obligations on budget credit and loans due in 2022; and the execution of central and local government guarantees.

"Support measures will foremost concern sectors that have been most seriously affected by the negative factors," the ministry said.

The government has also been granted broader powers to optimize and cut the non-priority expenditures of the central and local budgets.

In order to support exporters with obligations on credit contracts, it will be possible to exempt them from bank penalties when proper use of credit resources is not confirmed due to the military and political situation in the country of the counterparty and if the exporter ensures full payment of interest on export credits.

The decree also grants a VAT exemption to transactions with bullion bars and polished precious stones produced by Belarusian companies, which "will increase the investment of appeal of such valuables."

In order to minimize the negative impact that the depreciation of the Belarusian ruble has on companies financial results, the provision approved in May 2020 that allowed businesses to gradually recognize exchange rate differences in current financial results has been extended until the end of 2022; it will apply to exchange differences incurred from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022.