Belarus should step up efforts to develop the digital economy, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at the session held on 11 December to discuss a draft decree “Concerning the development of the digital economy”.
“We should accept the new reality, as they say, the digital reality and use all the opportunities it opens up for Belarus. Therefore, we have prepared a draft decree “Concerning the development of the digital economy”. It has a comprehensive and very meaningful title. Our country’s position is clear. Digital transformation of the economy is one of the key priorities of development,” the head of state said.
Partaking in the session were high-ranking government officials and famous representatives of the IT community.
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the topic is very important and wide. However, several years ago no one could even imagine that such issues will be discussed in detail at the level of the president. “Life is developing so fast, and we cannot neglect the fact. If we start lagging behind in this hectic life, we will suffer and lack something important,” the head of state said. “This pertains not only to the development of the IT sector and advanced technologies. The topic on the agenda is much wider. At the meeting in spring we made a decision to create the IT country. The title is relative, but the essence is clear.”
Information technologies are penetrating all spheres. Therefore, the agenda includes not only the problems of the IT industry, the president said. There is tough competition between countries for markets and capital. More than that, they are competing not only for the financial and human capital, they are competing for smart, educated and ambitious people, for new ideas and intellectual property.
“The Belarusian IT sector needs an impulse for development because young people should be able to realize their potential in full here. Belarus should become a real center of gravity for talented people, successful companies and international corporations. Our country has a good chance to become at least a regional leader in the development of advanced fields such as the artificial intellect, big data, blockchain technology,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that he is not going to slow down corresponding processes and has never been a retrograde person. However, he remarked that the fulfillment of the plans will largely depend on the representatives of the IT sector.
The president urged to focus on the interests of the state while trying hard to get profits. The state creates conditions, guarantees stability and security. “Wise people now understand what stability and order are. And they are doing their best to find a reliable hub. We are ready to become this hub. You should be good owners of this hub. You should give people an opportunity to make money. But the state needs power. Therefore, it should be supported. I am trying to say that you should not forget about your state while making money,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“You will never reproach me that you money coming to the budget in the form of taxes are plundered. Never! If you can propose new ways of using the budget money, you are welcome. Reasonable initiatives and proposals will be implemented immediately,” the head of state emphasized.
“Frankly speaking, I do not need a wonderful and attractive hub here where people will work and earn money without thinking of others and even of their employees. Understand me. I am a statesman,” Alexander Lukashenko remarked. “It does not contradict your intentions and ideas, but let’s be responsible for this piece of land together. I will guarantee stability and non-interference to you. But everything should be in order.”
The president noted that there are not universal responses to all global challenges deriving from the robust technological development. Therefore, the current draft decree will have to be revised after its passing. “This will be the foundation, but it should be developed,” he said.
The head of state encourages all the participants of the meeting to start an open and sincere conversation. “Let’s think together, discuss these issues, arrange a brainstorming to realize what we should do to achieve an objective and create the IT country. This will be a common achievement of ours, and we will be proud of it,” the Belarusian leader concluded.