Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a session to discuss economic issues on 21 May.
“We will discuss economic issues today on the initiative of the government. These are current issues and future prospects. I would like the prime minister and vice premiers to report on the situation with export. And of course, a crucial issue is the gross domestic product. What is the progress in this field? I know the official statistics. What do we have as a result at the end of the year? What indicators? I am especially concerned about export because it generates the inflow of foreign currency to the country, it is rather difficult to operate without foreign currency, the lack of it impedes economic development,” the president said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also asked about the state of affairs in trade and economic cooperation with Russia and the European Union. “These are two major partners of Belarus. Our export to the European Union is now even bigger than the export to the Russian Federation,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
The head of state reminded about the objective to diversify Belarusian export: Russia, the European Union and countries of the distant arc should account for one third of the export respectively. “Such export is diversified,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
The president invited the participants of the session to discuss existing issues in the trade and economic cooperation, particularly, with Russia. “There is a much-talked-about problem with this ‘poisonous ’ oil. What is the current situation? I’ve read a report and returned it to the prime minister. Do not bring all these reports to me. You are just losing time,” the president said. “Just tell me if there has been any progress recently. Why are you telling me about all your heroism, about the meetings you’ve had, about your discussions? I need results.”
“The second issue which has not been solved yet is the export of Belarusian agricultural produce to the Russian market. As far a I know, about 60 Belarusian enterprises cannot deliver their products to Russia. The situation is (and it never happened before) that we cannot fulfill even existing trade balances because Russia does not fulfill its obligations. Why don’t you take any measures?” the Belarusian leader wondered.
The participants of the session also discussed other economic issues. “Why am I focusing on all these issues at such an early stage this year? I am doing it because I do not want us to be in a situation at the end of the year when we have to do the impossible to overcome problems and try to catch up,” the head of state said.