Because it was formerly a part of the Soviet Union, Belarus has a well-established industrial base, but the transition from a centrally-planned economy to a free market economy has not been easy. Privatization, although in progress, has been happening slowly, and foreign investment is discouraged by the "hostile" business climate.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 1998 Belarus's central government took in revenues of approximately $4 billion and had expenditures of $4.1 billion including capital expenditures of $180 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $1 million. External debt totaled $1.03 billion.
The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues and expenditures. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.
|REVENUE AND GRANTS||100%||4,000|
|General public services||5.3%||217|
|Public order and safety||3.2%||131|
|Recreation, cultural, and religious affairs||1.5%||62|
|Economic affairs and services||21.0%||861|