Russia’s Oil Tax Maneuver to Cost Belarus $400mn in 2020

The Belarusian economy will lose around $400 million in 2020 due to Russia’s tax maneuver, the country’s Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich said on Thursday, according to Interfax.

“[Losses] will reach $800 million over two years: $400 million this year, and $400 million the next year,” Yermolovich told reporters.

The Finance Ministry expects that the country’s 2020 budget deficit will reach around 1 percent of its GDP, or around $500 million, he added.

According to the minister, Minsk plans to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next week to resume negotiations about a new assistance program.

Russia plans to gradually lift the export duty on oil and increase the severance tax by 2024. As a result of the maneuver, Belarus will have to bear additional costs, which Minsk estimates at $11 billion over the whole period.

According to Russian data, since 2005, through cheap supplies of oil and gas, Belarus received from Russia donations amounting approximately $100 billion. Sergey Agibalov, the chief expert of the Russian Institute of Energetics and Finances says after 2014, Russia reduced oil and gas donations to $4 billion a year: around $2 billion from the supplies of cheap oil, and $2 billion more from cheap gas supplies.

Deliveries of oil products comprised up to 40 per cent of the Belarusian export (in USD), in recent years – over 30 per cent. Belarus refined the Russian oil at its factories (Navapolatsk and Mazyr oil refineries) and sold oil products at the international market at market price.