Meeting to discuss draft decree on forestry industry
A draft decree “On the operation of the forestry industry and the sales of timber” was submitted to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The head of state heard out a report on the proposed amendments on 24 April.
The meeting hosted by the Belarusian president was attended by vice premiers Vladimir Dvornik and Yuri Nazarov, Forestry Minister Vitaly Drozhzha, and Chairman of the State Control Committee Leonid Anfimov.
“Forests have always been and still are our wealth. Unfortunately, sometimes we are not treating this wealth properly,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “I am convinced that if we treated nature with more responsibility and respect, we would live a better live, and viruses would not affect us. Nature is a pillar of our wealth and a pillar of our people’s health because almost a half of our territory is covered with forests and swamps. There are many swamps in Belarus, and, as it turned out, they are also important for people’s health. Europe is doing a good thing when protecting swamps as they are main source of oxygen.”
The head of state stressed that Belarusians should cherish, protect and restore this natural wealth. “Forests are the resource, raw materials for many industries,” he added. “In recent time we have done a lot to use this renewable resource. We don’t have that much oil and natural gas as, for example, Russia has. Therefore, our soil, forests and people’s hands are our main resources, and we must use them wisely.”
The draft decree “On the operation of the forestry industry and the sales of timber” introduces serious amendments to the organization of timber sales on the domestic market. Aleksandr Lukashenko asked about the reasons for the proposed amendments. If we come to agreement and it will be beneficial for our economy and people, we will change and improve this system. But the main objective is to use natural resources wisely. Secondly, all these measures should bring money to the budget, should benefit our people, nature and country. They should not do any harm,” the president stressed.
Yuri Nazarov explained that the current regulations were introduced in 2007.And today some of the provisions have a negative impact on the operation of modernized wood processing enterprises and on the efficiency of the forestry industry in general. Therefore, the current system should be adjusted to current realities. This pertains to the domestic sales of timber. “Don’t even start a conversation about foreign sales,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We must sell forestry industry products with a high added value on foreign markets. We don’t need a situation when you make wooden boards, export them to Germany, Slovakia, they make furniture and import it to our country. We must produce everything we can here. I understand that we cannot process and sell everything with the highest added value. But recent cases show that we can do a lot. We even started to export finished houses to France.”