The activities of banks should be in sync the interests of the national economy, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he heard out a report on the operation of credit and financial organizations on 16 November.
The efficiency of management in credit and financial organizations was on the agenda of the meeting. Previously the head of state gave corresponding instructions to government officials.
“You are aware of my requirements. All organizations, including banks or even especially banks, should work with maximum efficiency. Their activities should be in sync with the interests of the national economy,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President asked about the measures of the government in this field. He wanted to know if the approaches comply with Belarus’ social and economic development goals, if the current system is in sync modern standards and the best global practices.
“However, I should say that global practices are global practices. We often say that Belarus is a developing state and has not reached that level of development, including in the operation of credit and financial organizations. If we have not reached that level why do we pay salaries in accordance with global practices? Because if we want to meet the standards, let’s do it in all aspects, including in the material support of organizations and workers,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“I will not conceal that, perhaps, at the behest of the government, we often do not pay enough attention to the main issues which we will also discuss today. These include allowances, salaries and monetary bonuses for employees and heads of banking institutions. I has been cautioned against a sincere conversation on this topic. They say that the IMF or other international organizations may not like it. Right now I am the President of Belarus and I do not plan to be the President of leader of international organizations. Therefore, I advise you to focus on the affairs in Belarus,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state remarked that people’s wellbeing is very important for the government. “But we are aware of the situation in Belarus. People do not live in idleness and plenty. The government, including the National Bank and subordinate banks, are doing their utmost to raise salaries to the desired level of Br1,000 or $500 in the equivalent. Let’s also have this level in the banking sector. It means that salaries must be earned. All bankers are saying this. And I support them. Salaries should not be paid for nothing in the country. Banking sector employees should also work hard to earn their salaries,” the President believes.
Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the fact that bankers distinguish their salaries from bonuses. “This is money too. You can build a system when people get very small monthly wages and then line their pockets with bonuses. So let’s see how the system will work in general. I have just said about the level of salaries in the country. I will stress once again that I do not want the banking sector to be a team of fat cats, as people say. Salaries of bankers should be commensurate with the level of salaries in the country,” the head of state said.
In his words, after the optimization of government bodies a clear-cut mechanism concerning salaries was developed there. “Everything is clear with salaries at all levels, from the prime minister to heads of local councils. They use the money that has been saved and distribute them among workers. The banking sector, including the heads of our banks, should also adopt this system. As far as you can see, I do not divide private and state-owned banks. Calculate the salaries of workers depending on the salary of the chairman of the National Bank,” the Belarusian leader instructed.
The President emphasized that salaries should depend on the labor efficiency and productivity. “I do not think that a head of a private or state-owned bank works more or better than the chairman of the National Bank. If it is so, the President should think about it. I do not think that it is so. Therefore, it is normal to compare bankers’ salaries and bonuses with the salary of the chairman of the National Bank,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state added that banks to do not have their own money. They use the money of private individuals and legal entities. “I have once said that if a bank takes a $1 billion loan under the interest rate of 1% in the west and then issues loans under a 2.5% interest rate in Belarus, we must reward this bank and its leader,” the President said.
Alexander Lukashenko reiterated that banks should not stand out from the general system in the country. “Let’s be guided by this principle,” he added.
The President wanted to listen to a detailed report on the situation in credit and financial institutions. In particular, he wanted to know about certain issues which can be of concern for the government and senior officials of the National Bank. “It seems that the situation is stable. But are there challenges and risks? We should see them,” the head of state said.