Payment of 100% of utility charges by the population is to become a powerful blow in the pocket of Belarusians.
Such an opinion has been expressed in an interview to charter97.org by Professor Barys Zhaliba, Doctor of Economics.
- Mr Zhaliba, recently Belarusian officials state that Belarusians are to pay the full cost of utility charges soon. What is the reason for such statements?
- The necessity to raise utility charges is explained by the government by the fact that people compensate 100% of utilities charges in all developed countries. This happens even in our closest neighbouring country, Poland. But they have corresponding salaries there. There are also demands of creditors to create a normal market economy, so that these standards would be met and we all paid 100% of utility charges. It is a requirement of the IMF and even the EurAsEc Anti-Crisis Fund in fact. But we fail at that, and I do not think we are going to succeed. Our economy is not able to raise salaries to the level when we would be able to pay full bills. And even in 2015 nothing will change.
- That is, in simple terms, Belarusians are simply not able to pay 100% of utility charges, are they?
- Certainly they are not able for that. It is to hit their pocket seriously, and the government understands that.
- However, we know very well that even being aware of these facts, the Belarusian authorities are able to make controversial and unpopular moves and can raise utilities charges without raising salaries…
- Yes, they are following this path little by little. They raised the cost of electricity at least 5 times last year, and they are going to continue like this. The government promised us an average salary of $1000 in 2015. But I do not see any possible progress in our economy. And certainly the authorities are going to put the load of higher utility bills on us, which is to deteriorate the standards of living of the population, especially low-income groups – pensioners and so on. People will be simply surviving in the literal meaning of the word, and no one knows what is to happen next. So far Belarusians are tolerating that, but their patience is not limitless. For how long people are to be turned into beggars?