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Thursday 5 July 2018

Turkmenistan Owes over $40 mln to Belarus


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MINSK (Kharter’97) — According to the National Bank of Belarus, the overdue debts of Turkmen companies to the country for the first quarter of this year increased by 6 times and reached 85 mln rubles, which is is more than the entire budget of Belarus for the protection of the natural environment.

Garlyk Potash Combine construction site

The largest foreign project of the Belarusian builders — the Garlyk Potash Combine in Turkmenistan, ended in failure. As a result, the domestic budget was in the red about $200 mln.

The contract for construction of mining and refining facility in Karakum, costing about one billion dollars, was awarded to Belgorkhimprom. They were due to finish in 2015, but the grand opening, with the participation of the rulers of Turkmenistan and Belarus — Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Lukashenko, occurred only last year.

Members of the government of both Turkmenistan and Belarus now doubt the benefits of this project. In April, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed his deputy prime minister and foreign minister to inspect the plant for the previously identified defects of Belarusian contractors. The general contractor — the state-owned state enterprise Belgorkhimprom, worked in the year before last with a loss of almost $50 mln. And this year the balance on his account was less than $500.

The economist Lev Margolin says:

As for Turkmenistan and the problems that aroused during the construction of the Garlyk plant, they led to Belarus abandoning the construction of a second potash plant, which was to be built 40 km from the first.

But the problem is not only in the inefficiency of the Belarusian state enterprise and the insolvency of Turkmen clients. Journalists analyzed Belarusian public procurement for the Garlyk project and found a number of signs of a possible “sawing off” in the procurement of construction materials. So, Belgorkhimprom bought a metal powder kupershlak — at a price of $190/ton, while in Russia this material costs three times cheaper. As a result, that purchase cost $90,000, instead of 30.

In total, according to Belarusian government members, at the beginning of this year, Turkmenistan owed Belarus for Garklik about $200 mln. Of these, as of May 1, 85 mln rubles were considered as overdue. According to experts, the prospect of recovering the debt from Ashgabat is questionable, as, for example, the opposition media in this Central Asian country report food shortages.

View online : Cash Restricted Turkmenistan

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