Belarus: Central bank fire-sale to raise £10,000 – but it needs £4bn


Richard Hall
Thursday 20 October 2011 00:00

In a move unlikely to inspire confidence in the faltering economy of Belarus, the country's central bank has announced that it is selling off a host of household items and office supplies in an attempt to raise just $16,000 (£10,123).

Coffee cups, sugar bowls and television sets are among the items being offloaded by the Natsionalnyi Bank Respubliki, with prices ranging from 4p for a cardboard box, to £2,728 for artwork.

Belarus is facing its worst financial crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the bank insisted the country's dire economic state had nothing to do with the sale. "This does not have anything to do with the situation with the country's economy or the central bank's financial well-being," said its spokesman, Alexander Timoshenko. "The bank is simply selling things it doesn't need."

Among the items no longer required are 10 safes, ranging in value from 8.8 million roubles, or £645, to 11.2m roubles. The most expensive item on offer is a tapestry featuring the medieval Belarusian city of Pinsk, priced at just over £2,700.

Other items include a pack of 30 paper bags for 1,295 roubles, a sugar bowl for 4,270 roubles and two suitcases for 44,928 roubles apiece. Also up for grabs is a used Aiwa dictaphone for 591,429 roubles and a second-hand Horisont television at 417,958 roubles.

Belarus sought help from the International Monetary Fund after it was forced to devalue its currency, asking for a loan of up to £4.4bn in June. But an IMF official said on Monday that Belarus had to focus on reducing inflation, which has exceeded 60 per cent this year, before loan negotiations could start.

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