Aleksandr Lukashenko hears out report from Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich on 23 May to receive his report. The meeting touched upon a set of matters concerning the social and economic development of the country. Unsold merchandise and overstocked warehouses of Belarusian manufacturers were discussed.

    “All of us know what is going on in the world. The government knows that, too. Naturally Russian and Western Europe markets have slumped or even more than that in Europe,” remarked the head of state. “Russia is trying to protect its manufacturers, including manufacturers of agricultural machines. It is inadmissible in the Customs Union if we are indeed trying to build a tighter union. But you have to understand Russia, too: self comes first”.

    “Following my instruction a group of experts, who are knowledgeable about economics, but don’t belong to the government or enterprises, has looked into the situation recently. Judging by their report I don’t see a critical situation for now except for a couple of enterprises that need decisions,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The President said he was concerned about the rather large stock in storage at certain enterprises. “The situation at some enterprises is inadmissible I believe although they cite seasonal causes. We will look into it once more, I am now personally monitoring these issues. The same group will keep an eye on it and will report to me,” remarked the head of state. “If they do what they have promised, I don’t see any major problems in the future. But these issues have to be dealt with”.

    “This is why I am interested in learning how the government trades in the merchandise we make. Ways should be sought to prevent merchandise from piling up in warehouses,” stressed the President. Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested that payment by installment can be used if, for instance, vehicles have to be sold inside Belarus.

    The head of state asked to analyze the relevant situation at every enterprise. After evaluating the economic state of the enterprise it is necessary to make decisions on state support or preferences. Thus, the state will support both manufacturers and the home market. However, universal and gratuitous state support is out of the question.

    A government session chaired by the head of state is expected to discuss the matter of stock in storage and sales in the near future.

    The President also underlined that the situation on the forex and financial market of the country also depends on the national economy performance: “Everything depends on the economy. We cannot allow the situation to get out of hand. The gold and foreign exchange reserves have to be saved instead of spending them”.

    Mikhail Myasnikovich admitted that some enterprises have an increased finished goods inventory. “But we see that the situation is recovering a bit, several new contracts are signed, including for shipments to Russia, non-CIS states,” he remarked.

    The Prime Minister stated that the performance of the national economy in January-April 2013 was rather good. A surplus of the state budget was secured, the forex market remained stable. Real earnings of individuals and pensions increased by more than 22%. In turn, the fact leads to an increase in deposits of individuals and the trade turnover. Fixed-capital investments went up by more than 12%. Foreign direct investments amounted to $1.5 billion, including $1.26 billion channeled into the production sector. A foreign trade surplus of $426 million was secured.

    The head of state drew attention to foreign trade. In particular, the President urged to secure effective sales of potash fertilizers on conventional and new markets, including such potassium-hungry markets like India.

    The President was also informed about the implementation of several projects. In particular, Mikhail Myasnikovich said he had had two meetings with Russian investors, who are ready to implement projects together with the National Airport Minsk and the national air carrier Belavia. Their investments may be close to $100 million. Apart from that, cooperation of the National Airport Minsk and Belavia with the Russian investors will allow improving their performance on the air transportation market.

    The President approved of the proposals and instructed the government to present a relevant business plan and a draft investment contract in 1.5 months.
    The meeting also touched upon other matters concerning social and economic development. The President reminded about the need to live within one’s means. Unjustified increases in salaries in the public sector or the real economy sector must not happen.