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Alexander Egorov: The Development Bank will participate in the realization of projects to create and implement digital platforms

The functions of JSC “Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus” were expanded by Decree of the President No. 241. In fact, the bank is transformed from a financial organization into a development institution and a center of competence in the field of investments, including strategic projects. In particular, participation in the implementation of projects, programs and events in the field of digital development will become additional activities of the bank. Also, the bank was given the authority to carry out financial and economic assessments, determine the structure of financing, monitor and support the implementation of the most significant investment projects. In addition, opportunities to support small and medium-sized businesses have been expanded: the bank will be able to provide collateral for loans to business entities, as well as participate in the formation and implementation of new tools and mechanisms to support small and medium-sized enterprises in accordance with the decisions of the Government. Alexander Egorov, Chairman of the Management Board, told the journalist of the newspaper “Respublika” about the activities of the Development Bank in connection with the expansion of its possibilities.

– Over the past two years, systematic work has been carried out to transform the Development Bank from an exclusively financial institution into a development institution with broader functionality and competencies than providing lending to certain projects. The bank's strategy was deeply revised, and a number of pilot projects were worked out in various areas. Now, appropriate changes have been made to the regulatory framework: the decree expands the mandate of the Development Bank. The main task is to use not only financial mechanisms to support the economy, but also the development and implementation of a wider range of tools to revive investment activity. 

In particular, the Development Bank will participate in the implementation of projects to create and implement digital platforms. With the support of the bank, a platform for the self-employed was created. Now, together with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Taxes and Duties, we are working on the concept of creating a similar digital platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. It provides for the maximum automation of tax administration for business entities, the transfer of the function of calculating taxes and liability from a business entity to the platform. The entrepreneur will only need to correctly and reliably enter the primary data: revenue, expenditure items, and so on. 

The decree allows expanding the toolkit to support small and medium-sized enterprises. A project was launched to provide collateral for SMEs to repay bank loans and fulfill other obligations. We see that there are many interesting ideas that business entities are able to implement. Banks are ready to finance these projects, but potential borrowers do not have an appropriate collateral or other security. Meanwhile, there is excess liquidity in the banking system: there are funds. The provision of guarantees to SMEs, in our opinion, will become an incentive for investment activity. In this matter, we work with the Entrepreneurship Development Fund and JSC “Promagroleasing”. These programs are already starting to work. 

It is also planned to create a project and investment office in the Development Bank. Its key function is the evaluation of investment projects, the formation of all project documents, assistance in finding sources of financing, structuring it, and so on. In a pilot mode, we have already completed more than a dozen fairly large investment projects. They gave both their expert opinion and looked for sources of funding, including through the Eurasian Development Bank. And this experience has shown that the country needs a center of investment competencies in a wide range. Now, on behalf of the Government, the Development Bank is working both with significant investment projects, including within the framework of the intergovernmental agreement between Belarus and Russia, and projects within the framework of the “One District - One Project” initiative. We see: there are good ideas, but there are difficulties with the development of design and estimate documentation, technical justification, preparation of a business plan, search for sources of financing and its structuring. Now we will expand this work.