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Belarus: Country Lacks Investment Climate

Prague, 20 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - A mission of the World Bank in Minsk has told a news conference that it is too early to talk about providing Belarus credits.

Our correspondent quotes team leaders as saying yesterday that they questioned the veracity of Belarusian official statistics, and as saying there is no investment climate in the country.

The comments came on the same day Belarus' new prime minister, Sergei Ling, called for "unpopular measures" to improve the country's faltering economy. Itar-Tass says Ling made the statement in an address to parliament, which yesterday approved him to the post of prime minister. Ling, who had been acting prime minister since last November, was nominated by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Ling listed three key tasks for his government: reining in inflation, paying of wage arrears, and the firing of incompetent officials. He also said unprofitable businesses should be declared bankrupt.