Aleksandr Lukashenko hears our report of Belarus PM Mikhail Myasnikovich
President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has met with Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich. In order to hear views of those, who argue against the government’s policy Aleksandr Lukashenko invited Andrei Kobyakov, Head of the Belarus President Administration, and Piotr Prokopovich, President Aide, to take part in the meeting. Attending the meeting were also Economy Minister Nikolai Snopkov and Finance Minister Andrei Kharkovets.
The President outlined a number of questions he wanted to hear answers to.
First of all, the head of state was interested in the pace of the country's social and economic development in 2012 and plans for the next year. “We started such talks with the Economy Ministry and the aide for economic affairs yesterday. It turns out the things are in total disarray!” remarked the President. “I am told that export is the priority while GDP is nothing. I understand that export is a vital indicator but exporting a lot is impossible without GDP. It is understandable that in our economy if export and GDP are to be raised, import will increase as well. But we have the added value so we could manufacture goods at a larger profit. Import may rise but it is important to raise export meanwhile so that we will get a good added value along with having to compensate for the import costs,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that he would like to hear out about this year’s performance. “I hear criticism again that we fail to fulfill our own obligations, that we fail to fulfill decisions of the President that were made for the year 2012 upon your initiative. And naturally the next year will be a very hard one,” said the President.
“But this year there are problems all around us: in Europe, Ukraine, Russia. Who could have thought that Kazakhstan can harvest only 14 million tonnes of grain while we have harvested 11.5 million tonnes of cereals together with corn. Although the autumn was a difficult one and it was difficult to harvest grain maize (I will have to look into that yet). It is necessary to manage this wealth wisely,” remarked the head of state.
“The most important thing is that we have to store enough food to last the winter because around us we will definitely see food shortage,” he added.
The President also touched upon the provision of utility services.
In particular, Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke in favor of keeping state-run agencies in place to prevent an infestation of the industry with “all kinds of swindlers”.
The President also drew attention to housing construction. “I don’t want to hear much about square meters now. The housing construction system is unbalanced!” The head of state said he wanted to hear about the volume of external services rendered by Belarusian builders and prospects for the next year.
Aleksandr Lukashenko was also interested in results of the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, and India, prospects of Belarusian presence in the region.
Mikhail Myasnikovich said that the visit had been rather productive. Promising contracts for the delivery of BelAZ, MAZ vehicles had been signed as well as contracts to start assembling tractors and mine dump trucks in Kazakhstan, to build factories to manufacture food in Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.
The Belarusian government believes that conventional export schemes are outdated and cannot raise export by 15% as is the plan for the year 2013. It is necessary to consider export lending schemes, leasing schemes. Some starter capital should be involved in pushing the first Belarusian products onto new markets. Mikhail Myasnikovich stressed there are great opportunities for Belarus in this regard.
Besides, there are great prospects in working with these countries for the delivery of potash fertilizers. Arrangements have been made with Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi state-run company will buy at least 500,000 tonnes of potash fertilizers every year while private companies will buy 250,000-300,000 tonnes on top of that.
India is ready to buy 2.7 million tonnes of potash fertilizers from Belarus or just as much as the country needs. The Prime Minister said that in the near future representatives of the Indian Chemical Industry and Fertilizers Ministry will visit Belarus to negotiate the pricing formula for 2013 and years after that. The Indian side has also agreed to be an investor in the exploitation of the Petrikovskoye deposit. Geologic exploration is in progress at the site. An agreement has been reached that India will revise matters relating to the antidumping policy and the positioning of Belarus as a market economy country.
The head of state gave instructions to step up the presence of Belarus on these markets.
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to work harder with South America countries, especially regarding deliveries of potash fertilizers and machines, in particular, cooperation with Brazil.
The President was also interested in the state of affairs regarding the construction of the Garlyk mining and processing complex in Turkmenistan and the profits Belarus will get from it. Mikhail Myasnikovich said that in January about 2,500 people will be employed at the site, including about 1,000 Belarusians.
The head of state was informed about the economy's preparedness for the winter season.
According to the Prime Minister, the intended oil deliveries in 2013 are still a problem. “I have scheduled a phone talk with Dmitry Medvedev. For now the oil volumes voiced at the level of the vice premier of the Russian government cannot satisfy us and there are solid arguments as to why they can’t. Even taking into account that we have agreed to ship about 3 million tonnes of petroleum products to Russia on market terms next year”.
Mikhail Myasnikovich remarked that Belarus has top-notch oil refineries that manufacture European-quality products and the installations, in which a lot had been invested, should operate effectively and at full capacity.
The Prime Minister remarked that all the issues regarding the operation of the fuel and energy industry in Q4 2012 had been settled but “some issues regarding a certain shortage in 2013” still had to be addressed. Belarus counts on Russia supplying 23 million tonnes of oil in 2013 while this year’s deliveries will total 21.5 million tonnes.
The head of state gave relevant instructions regarding further work in this area.
The President was also informed about the fulfillment of instructions to replenish stabilization funds.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the need to fully control the pricing situation in order to prevent seasonal factors from affecting the inflation.
The President said that all the social and economic development targets set for the year 2012 must be hit, particularly the gross domestic product.
The head of state was interested not only in macroeconomic indicators but also in Belarusian export and production in natural terms.
Aleksandr Lukashenko was displeased that the government was not sufficiently demanding towards the oblast administrations and the heads of individual enterprises that demonstrate insufficient performance figures.The Prime Minister assured that all instructions of the President will be undoubtedly fulfilled.