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EBRD: Belarus needs structural reforms

In its latest Transition Report, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development notes the country’s GDP growth of 9.9 and 8.1% in 2006 and 2007, a higher level than in any other EBRD country of operations, which the Bank links with export boost and robust domestic demand.

However, it warns that increasing natural gas prices and inflation are posing a challenge for the economy and highlighting the need for measures to enhance energy efficiency in the manufacturing industry, the housing sector and the infrastructure sector; to increase the competitiveness and the efficiency of the manufacturing industry and services; to promote investment and competitiveness; and to reduce administrative interference in highly-competitive industries. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says that Belarus has made modest progress in market reforms in all areas compared with other countries of operations. It emphasizes the need for the country to complete the first stage of transition period reforms, which includes privatization and the liberalization of prices, currency and commercial operations, to be able to count on a significant amount of direct foreign investment inflows that could help it bridge the growing deficit in the payment system. (Belorusskie Novosti)