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15 February 2017

Belarus PM calls for more effort to put unused state property to economic use

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – No tangible progress has been achieved in the effort to reintroduce the unused state-owned property into the economic cycle, Belarus’ Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said at the meeting of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian government.

The meeting considered the results achieved in 2016 and the list of unused or inefficiently used property owned by the state to be reintegrated into the economic life in 2017.

Official figures indicate that there are 2.2 million square meters of vacant property in Belarus. This accounts for about 2% of the total immovable state property. These figures, according to Andrei Kobyakov, mean the lost revenues of state-owned enterprises and the budget, significant maintenance costs of such objects, and property taxes. “We review these issues every year. But there has been little progress in this work. The share of unused property remains the same from year to year. The targets for 2016 have not been met. A total of 1,006 facilities or 65% of the target were reintroduced into the economic cycle in 2016. Judging by the figures presented by the State Property Committee, regional authorities are responsible for this failure. Vitebsk Oblast performed the worst fulfilling only 46.6% of the plan, the city of Minsk met the target by 32%,” the Belarusian Prime Minister said.

Andrei Kobyakov stressed that in terms of the law, everything has been formalized. The powers have been granted. “Yet we use these powers very cautiously. Entrepreneurs rightly ask the government to facilitate access to the unused state property. There are many red tape barriers, unnecessary departmental requirements. This does not allow enterprising people to make use of abandoned facilities and start a business. This hinders the reintroduction of these facilities into the economic cycle,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

There is a problem that the State Property Committee and ministries have been unable to solve for quite a long time, the PM emphasized. It is related to the assessment of the efficient use of property by state companies and business entities. “We need some baseline criteria to assess the efficient use of state property depending on the sector and area of its use. There are no such criteria yet. There is no objective assessment of the efficient use of property either,” the head of government said. The criticism of the State Property Committee seems to be constructive. “Audits reveal facts of falsified data, concealment of unused property, lack of proper monitoring from the State Property Committee. This is inadmissible,” Andrei Kobyakov said.


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