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Economy of Belarus

After the fall of the Soviet Union, all former Soviet republics faced a deep economic crisis. Belarus has however chosen its own way of overcoming this crisis. After the 1994 election of Alexander Lukashenko as the first President, launched the country on the path of "market socialism" as opposed to what Lukashenko considered "wild capitalism" chosen by Russia at that time. In keeping with this policy, administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates were introduced. Also the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprise was expanded, but on March 4, 2008, the President issues a decree abolishing the golden share rule in a clear movement to improve its international rating regarding the foreign investment.

As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well developed industrial base; it retained this industrial base following the break-up of the USSR. The country also has a broad agricultural base and a high education level. Among the former republics of the Soviet Union, it had one of the highest standards of living.

At first, this event triggered the end of traditional economic processes, the sharp drop in the economic capacity of enterprises and of the population of the republics of the former Soviet Union that were key consumers of Belarus products, cessation of financing from the Soviet Union's military sector which accounted for a considerable share of Belarus' industry, shocks of price liberalization, and, above all, outpacing growth in prices for raw materials and energy resources. Moreover, Belarus, like the rest of the former Soviet Union republics, was characterized by a general lack of preparedness of the country's institution and society for the market system of relations. The sharp growth in prices for raw materials and energy resources revealed the technological weakness of the economy with its resource-intensive and low-quality output. At the same time, the weak competitiveness of the local products, legal inter-government restrictions, and absence of marketing and financial management skills prevented the country's economic entities from making up for the drop in effective demand at the traditional markets through the conquer of new export markets.

Peat, the country's most valuable mineral resource, is used for fuel and fertilizer and in the chemical industry. Belarus also has deposits of clay, sand, chalk, dolomite, phosphorite, and rock and potassium salt. Forests cover about a third of the land, andlumbering is an important sector.

Sectors

Industry

In the Soviet period, Belarus specialized mainly in machine building and instrument building (especially tractors, large trucks, machine tools, and automation equipment), in computers and electronics industry and in agricultural production. As of 2013, Belarusian industry was inflicted with severe overproduction: its unsold goods stocks estimated worth at least US$3.8 billion, including 20,000 unsold Belarus tractors.

Energy

Belarus is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancingenergy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy marketprinciples, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest.

Oil

Belorusneft exports about 50% of its oil output. Oil deposits on the territory of Belarus are located in a single oil and gas basin, the Pripyat depression, which covers approximately 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi). About 50 out of total of 70 known fields are currently under production.

Natural Gas

Almost all of the natural gas used in Belarus is imported from Russia (about 99% of consumption). Domestic gas prices continue to be regulated by the government and in many instances cover only a fraction of the actual cost. Belarus has a well-developed gas transportation and gas distribution networks that ensure reliable supplies of natural gas to the consumers in the country.

Oil shale

Belarus contains large, but undeveloped reserves of oil shale, estimated at 8.8 billion tonnes. As of 2010, Belarus seeks to start exploiting the reserves to reduce its dependence on the Russian hydrocarbons.

Electricity

The electricity sector of Belarus is a dynamically expanding, highly automated system consisting of regional power systems united in the power system of the country. the electric power sector of the country is amalgamated into the state-owned production union of the power sector "Belenergo", which consists, apart from the central dispatch unit ODU, of six republican unitary regional power system enterprises (RUP-Oblenergo) and of entities of all kinds of ownership that carry out repair, maintenance and rehabilitation of facilities, research and development, service activities, and construction of new power sector facilities.

Manufacturing

Belarus is home to several domestic automotive manufacturers such as BelAZ, MZKT, MoAZ, Neman, though most vehicles manufactured in Belarus are commercial vehicles.

Mining

Although not rich in minerals, Belarus has been found to have small deposits of iron ore, nonferrous metal ores, dolomite, potash (for fertilizer production), rock salt, phosphorites, refractory clay, molding sand, sand for glass production, and various building materials. Belarus also has deposits of industrial diamonds, titanium, copper ore, lead, mercury, bauxite, nickel, vanadium, and amber.

Defence

During Soviet times, Belarus' radio-electronic industry was primarily oriented towards military applications. With the break-up of the Soviet military and the reduction in the size of the newly state's military establishments, the Belarus defense sector desperately needs to export to survive.

Agriculture

Subsidization of agricultural sector in Belarus amounted to 1-2 percent of GDP in the form of direct government credits, advanced payments for realization of state orders of major crops, at strongly negative interest rates.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Belarus"

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