Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited OAO Horizont Holding Management Company.
Aleksandr Lukashenko was interested in the performance of the organizations under the holding company, the degree of localization of manufactured products, the condition and use of production facilities at various sites. There are still several facilities in Minsk that are not in demand taking into account the modern development of production, and there is a proposal to use these territories for other purposes, in particular, to develop the service sector. Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested revisiting the matter and analyzing everything for a long perspective so that the holding company would not have to seek additional production facilities in other places. “I think we have to develop these areas ourselves. We need to see what will bring more income and what is more profitable for the state,” he said.
The President was told that the holding company is working at a profit. The company has been systematically increasing the localization of television equipment. The company buys abroad the components that only a few companies produce and it is not rational to localize them.
Even amid the ongoing pandemic, there is a steady demand for television sets and other products. The vast majority of products are exported.
The manufacturing output over the five years has soared four times, export - 3.7 times. Its share is 92%. Profit from sales increased 4.6 times. Supplies are on the increase to both CIS and non-CIS countries. New types of products are made. The focus is also on innovative products. Their share over the 5 years have grown from 17% to 75%. The holding company develops such areas as automobile electronics, avionics, information systems. The company’s scientific potential is concentrated in the innovation center in Minsk.
Darting the meeting with the personnel of Horizont the President stressed that the decision to preserve and develop the enterprise was justified.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled his visit to Horizont at the start of his presidential career when they had to decide on the fate of the enterprise that was in a difficult situation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “I recall this period when we had to make complicated and difficult decisions and the fact that we didn’t sell, didn’t give away [the enterprise] in exchange for vouchers and the rest to frauds,” he noted.
“If you want to sell yourselves away at some point in time (without me certainly), go ahead. But I don’t intend to sell Horizont. Contrariwise, I believe it is necessary to grow and expand production. Because in difficult times private owners tend to cut loose low-profit assets. People get fired then. When the state backs you up, then some development is ensured,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“It is a great enterprise, part of our country’s image. Horizont, Vityas in Soviet times… Horizont was quite a lofty company. It is good that it has been preserved,” the head of state stressed. “I don’t regret keeping the enterprise running.”
The President also spoke in positive terms about the establishment of an innovative center at Horizont where IT specialists and developers work among other people. They create proprietary products, making Horizont a modern product company. Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that other centers of competence have emerged recently in the IT sphere in addition to the Hi-Tech Park. It enables good conditions for healthy competition. In his words, an entire stratum of young and promising IT specialists has appeared in the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and in manufacturing sector enterprises. “The country needed an alternative and you are a good alternative,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
Speaking about Horizont’s financial and economic performance, the head of state noted the holding company has its own target markets and good performance indicators even in the complicated situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out once again that the decision to keep manufacturing even in a complicated epidemic situation had been the right one. Some Belarusian companies have exploited the opportunity and increased shipments to foreign markets where factories and plants had to suspend operation. For instance, the Atlant company, which the President has also visited, has considerably increased shipments of refrigerators to Russia. The situation is similar at Horizont.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “A crisis is always a time of opportunities. It doesn’t bring only problems and hardships. You’ve exploited these opportunities. Today you work day and night, there is a demand, there is no backlog of finished products. You’ve accomplished a great thing. We are past this period in this regard and we’ve gained an advantage.” Unlike other countries across the globe Belarus finished the year 2020 with a minimal decrease in the GDP thanks to timely decisions made by the country’s leadership. The 2020 GDP remained virtually on par with 2019’s. According to the President, Belarus’ gross domestic product of 2020 is expected to drop to 99.5% as against 2019, only half a percentage point down.
The head of the state was asked to comment on the decision to declare 2021 the Year of People's Unity. “I just want to say that I did not do it just to show anyone anything. Although it also makes sense, so that people understand that I am not an enemy to my own people and, above all, to myself. I want peace and concord in the country. You probably want this, too. If you do not like the current President, then the presidential election is the only way to address the issue. Only the presidential election. I say this no matter how much some might dislike it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“You, especially here, in Minsk, should understand that apart from Minsk there is [the rest of] Belarus. They say our country is small. Not at all. It is big!” stressed the Belarusian leader. “You [the youth] are indeed the future. You will take care of this country after we are gone. You are the future. Elections mean one and the same rights, one and the same ballots for both the youth (18 years old and above) and the elderly,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko urged everyone to abide by the law, to do their jobs and think ahead, first of all, about the future of their children.
“Although they are in a minority, they are my people, no matter how pompous it may sound,” the head of state said of those who are in the opposition to the current government.
“I would like those misguided to hear me. We will not have another land. Remember that we (this moment is the most important one) may lose everything. We will never get it back,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
The head of state was asked about the conversion of the housing stock to electricity heating as Horizont has launched the production of affordable electric heaters.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that work is already underway on this front across the country. New houses are equipped with electric heating and electric stoves. "We are switching to electricity. You can see that we are not only buying electric vehicles. We are starting to produce them. We are actively promoting and stimulating this," the President said.
Electric buses are already in active use as urban transport around the country.
"In the New Year address I mentioned electric cars. But the main message was that God has probably sent coronavirus upon us as a punishment for ruining nature. If we do not have harmony with nature, we will be unhealthy and our children will be beggars," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He noted that a number of European countries have already set a time frame to phase out conventional cars. "We have a chance to do it earlier, and we will do it," the Belarusian leader is sure.
The President explained that the electricity produced by the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be used for this purpose. The plant will also allow the country to save big on the import of natural gas.