This November, CIVITTA — together with its market research company in Belarus, SATIO — conducted a study of how Belarusian businesses perceive the current economic situation in the country and what are their expectations for the future. The study targeted top managers and business owners representing more than 400 companies of different sizes and from various industries and regions of Belarus.
One of the study’s main conclusions was that the political crisis in Belarus brought more issues to the commercial sector than the COVID-19 pandemic. The second conclusion reveals that most of the interviewed companies (~70%) believe that the state of the Belarusian economy is bad and will worsen in the future. Most often, actions of governmental bodies to support the economy are assessed as wrong, insufficient and even worsening the crisis. At the same time, more than 2/3 of the companies stated that the decision to not do the lockdown during the first COVID wave was right.
Out of 420 companies surveyed, more than 2/3 believe that the country's economy is in a bad condition. Half of the companies mentioned a decrease in revenue and profit margin, a quarter had to reduce staff. Similar forecasts are given for the future (reduction of revenue, profit margin, staff).
Young (under 10 years old), small (<50 employees), private companies and companies located in Minsk assess the state of the economy significantly worse. Respectively, more experienced (over 10 years old), relatively large (> 50 employees), state-owned companies, often not located in Minsk, are more positive in their assessments and forecasts, although there is a high share of pessimism among them. Agriculture, fishery and forestry companies, and the IT sector are handling the crisis better than others. Worst of all handling the crisis companies operating in the industries of HoReCa and tourism, services for business, wholesale and logistics (expectations are the worst in construction and wholesale).
In response to an open question: "What do you think public authorities should do to get out of the crisis as soon as possible?" the companies named both political and economic measures. Among the political measures proposed by the respondents are resolution of the political crisis, dialogue with people and business, stop of repressions and return to the legal field. Major economic measures stated by respondents to support Belarus economy are: reduction of the tax load, state subsidies, reduction of the share of governmental companies and state control.
Interestingly, even if the political crisis would be resolved, the economic recovery is expected not earlier than in a year and a half (in 2022 year). Otherwise, the perspective is extremely vague: almost half of the companies find it difficult to assess, the rest more often note it will be in 2024 or later.
The full study is available here.
Started as an alliance of advisory firms in the Baltic States, and headquartered in Estonia, CIVITTA is now a leading management consultancy in CEE & Nordics. CIVITTA challenges the traditional management consulting industry, providing high-quality fact-based and analytically rigorous consultancy and research services. We consult private and public sector clients and help them challenge their own industries by becoming more innovative, efficient and dynamic.