Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report from Chairman of the State Customs Committee Yuri Senko on 2 April.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “The border is a great indicator and a litmus test for the operation of the economy. This is why literally a few words. I am aware of heavy truck traffic, of the movement of Belarusian citizens and other citizens across the border. What do you think is happening to the economy, primarily the Belarusian economy, from your point of view as a customs official?”
The president stressed that the state of affairs in the Belarusian economy is the most important matter for him because “viruses come and go while life will go on.” “What this life will be depends largely on how we work today. This is why economy is a number one matter for me. I am paying more and more attention to it now,” the head of state stated.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also wondered about the state of the customs service personnel. He asked whether any customs officials had been infected with the coronavirus. “Because you get in touch with foreigners after all, who sometimes bring various viruses to us,” he explained.
Yuri Senko said that in January-March 2020 merchandise transit across the Belarusian border even increased in comparison with the same period of last year. “An increase of about 8-9% in import and transit to Russia and further on. In other words, the number of vehicles that transit Belarus has increased,” the head of Belarus’ Customs said.
Yuri Senko went on saying that at present the customs service prioritizes the clearance of perishable foods and essential commodities. “We have the technical capability for it,” the official added.
“Do you help Russians as well? If necessary, you can do it out of turn,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“It can be done,” Yuri Senko responded.