Aleksandr Lukashenko hears out report of Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report presented by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich on 1 October.

    “On the agenda of the meeting was the economic situation, progress in upgrading Belarusian companies, Eurasian integration and Belarus’ bilateral relations with foreign partners,” the press service said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the Premier about the results of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session on the level of the heads of government that was recently held in Astana. The Belarusian President also suggested discussing his forthcoming official visit to Kazakhstan.

    The head of state also noted that a session to discuss Belarus’ economic prospects will be held the following week.

    Mikhail Myasnikovich informed Aleksandr Lukashenko that a number of important decisions were passed at the Astana summit. The participants agreed to impose a higher import duty on grain harvesters in a bid to create good preconditions for selling these machines on the markets of Kazakhstan and Russia. Agreements were reached on the purchase of passenger aircrafts from third countries. “This involves a rather serious support, because the customs duty now makes about 20%. We have agreed on the duty-free import of airplanes for the period up to 2019,” the Prime Minister said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko and Mikhail Myasnikovich also discussed cooperation prospects between Belarus and Kazakhstan.

    The President and the Premier also reviewed Belarus’ trade and economic relations with Ukraine and the forthcoming official visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov to Belarus on 7-8 October.

    According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, Ukraine’s plans to sign the association agreement with the European Union should not affect Ukraine’s trade with Belarus: “Belarus should not lose Ukraine as its trading partner. Instead, Belarus should try to find something positive in this situation. It is a huge market for Belarus”.

    The Prime Minister is against selective approach to Eurasian integration on the part of Ukraine. “Ukraine declares its readiness to adopt about 70 out of 100+ agreements signed within the framework of the Customs Union. Naturally, we should strive for a full-blown membership,” Mikhail Myasnikovich said.

    As far as the economic situation in Belarus is concerned, the government points out a significant shortage of budgetary receipts, however, the optimization of spending is expected to improve the situation considerably. “Optimization of spending, total thrift should become a norm,” the Premier said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko criticized the government for mismanagement and the lack of discipline on the level of local authorities.

    The President was informed about progress in modernization. Br95 trillion was funneled into it over the eight months 2013 (the yearly plan is about Br120 trillion). The modernization process is proceeding smoothly at BelAZ, BMZ, oil refining companies, just to name a few. Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the funds meant for modernization should be invested solely into efficient projects.