Ramanchuk: If gas is to cost $160, the government will have to cut wages, pensions

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Yaraslau Ramanchuk, director of the Mizes Center think tank, believes that the announced price of $160 per 1000 cubic meters for Belarus is not final yet. Everything will be decided during the talks between the presidents on December 13-14, economist notes. “Othervise, there wouldn't have bee this frenzy; there wouldn't have been this upcoming unexpected Putin's visit to Minsk. All this is the proof that gas and energy resources remain Russia's political leverage in relations with Belarus.

The fact that Belarus has based the national budget on the price of $128 per 1000 cubic meter of gas, proves that the Belarusian negotiators count on some concessions from the Kremlin. But we know that the Kremlin will not give up easily. Apparently, Moscow is expecting some political concessions from Lukashenka.

The negotiations between the presidents on December 13-14 will be very tense”.

Ramanchuk noted that if gas cost $160, the goverment would have to axe wages and pensions and to raise utilities tariffs:

“I think we will feel through higher utilities charges. The government will be forced to reduce the pace of wages and pensions growth".