Sergej Chalyj: “It appears that IMF functions as government in our country”
In the end of June Belarus got the second stabilizing credit from IMF in amount of 680 million dollars. And in the beginning of July it became known that gold holdings of the country which are kept in the National bank of Belarus, lessened in almost the same figure – approximately 600 million dollars.
According to the official information of the National bank of Belarus these holdings are now approximately 2,5 million dollars. And here is the paradox – IMF has warned Belarus before that it could have worked normally with us if our gold holdings would reach at least the amount of 8-9 billion dollars. And from the other side IMF multiplied the amount of its credit to our country by 1 million dollars from the planned earlier. The reporter of www.Euramost.org asked the economist Sergej Chalyj to explain the situation.
-- In previous months 300-400 million dollars “flew away” from the gold holdings. In July the holdings turned up to loose 600 million. Will it, in your opinion, make International Monetary Fond uneasy?
-- I guess that the increasing of the amount of financing which was made by IMF was caused mostly by the fact that when in December they valued the situation they together with the government, they underestimated it. Neither by the depth nor by the period of its fall. It seems that the both know that the situation turned to be worse and that’s why the amount of help increased. And, to my opinion, certain measures will be assumed. At least, I completely support what International Monetary Fund suggests. Especially considering the fact, that IMF is now the only agency which can influence our economic politics. Neither Russia, nor European Union, nor any else inner experts can. It appears that IMF functions as government in our country.
-- Does it mean that you support the will of IMF to carry out the privatization of major Belarusian enterprises?
-- Not only this. There are many important things in these recommendations. Most important things happen so far on the level of recommendations, in banking sector. In December they made a condition of stopping monetary financing of sphere of production. It happened because in fact banks functioned as National bank of Belarus in direct crediting of economics. This was investment financing, they just were told were to put money. And this led to the growth of bad credits. I even was wondering: why nobody talked about it for so long? This recommendation was ignored. But when we had the last mission, there was a reminder about it. And if one would closely fallow the last speeches of the executives of National bank of Belarus, one can see that from all our economic authorities only the executives of National bank of Belarus have the most sensible ideas. They had the idea of creating a “bad bank” where they could put all overdue payments of depth of governmental enterprises and so on. The thing is to create gradually such banking sector for them not to be just the cashiers of the government but to be real bankers. And for them to really credit the economics, not only state sector.
What IMF does now is the reforms which must have been done in our country in the beginning of the 90s. We have quite special economics in Belarus. It is the heritage of approximately three unfinished reforms. And here you have this Frankenstein. So, they seem to untwist this knot from the beginning.
-- Belarus is searching for new credits in different places. Where really can our government find new money now?
-- International markets of corporate financing are practically closed now. One must hope for inter state credits or credits of international financial organizations. For example, the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. We, in fact, can’t count on Russia.