7 Oct 2022 15:13

Belarus agrees on $1.5-billion loan from Russia to fund import-substitution projects - PM

MINSK. Oct 7 (Interfax) - Belarus has agreed on a $1.5-billion loan from Russia for the substitution of imports, and seven projects of the kind will be launched by the yearend, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said.

"A short time ago, Belarus definitively agreed with Russia on a loan of over $1.5 billion for import substitution projects," Golovchenko said at a meeting with defense, law enforcement and security officials on Friday. His press service released a short video of the speech.

"Seven projects of the kind with a total value nearing $330 million will kick off by the end of this year, mostly in the field of machine building, due to the need to localize foreign components for various classes of vehicles," he said.

Golovchenko said at the beginning of the week that Moscow and Minsk had approved a list of Belarusian import substitution projects to be financed by Russia in the amount of $1.5 billion.

"At least 14 Belarusian enterprises will implement major programs to upgrade and develop their production facilities," Golovchenko said. "We have agreed on the interest rates, which will be highly advantageous to Belarusian manufacturers. We have also approved the lists of these [funded] projects," he said.

Speaking of the size of loans, Golovchenko said it would be equivalent to $1.5 billion or "maybe bigger." "There is some technical work to be done," while in a number of projects "we have gotten down to work, so to say, at our expense. Now they will be supported by loans from Russia," he said.

Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov said in September that a draft agreement with Russia on the financing of import substitution projects in Belarus was practically ready. "The signing of the financial scheme is nearing completion, while business plans and passports to be prepared by enterprises for consideration and funding are being actively discussed," Snopkov said.