Aleksandr Lukashenko holds meeting on improvement of state-owned shares management

    An effective system should be set up to run joint-stock companies with a state-owned share, said President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko at the government session held on 25 October to discuss ways to improve the management of state shares.

    The head of state underlined that the system should not be a bureaucratic superstructure that will only interfere with the operation of companies. The system should be effective and should benefit the state, primarily the economy.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the rational use of state property should be always in the center of attention of government agencies – central ones and regional ones alike.

    The President underlined that he had repeatedly instructed the government to improve the effectiveness of the management of state-owned packages of shares in joint-stock companies.

    “The system to manage the state property is productive only if, first, joint-stock companies aim to deal with tasks of national importance such as the social and economic development of the country, food, ecological, and information security instead of limiting their scope to corporate interests. Second, if the companies operate at a profit, with a good profit margin, and third, if they promptly respond to changes in the market situation,” believes the President. He regretfully said that the practice indicates there are many problems in this area in Belarus.

    The head of state remarked that it was quite a good practice that had evolved to hold government sessions prior to the President taking important decisions on the economic, social and political situation in the country. The session held today is meant to discuss the management of state-owned packages of shares and ways to improve the owner supervision system. A relevant draft decree has been prepared.

    “Self-complacence and dependency attitudes are abundant even in the companies where the state owns the controlling interest. Supervisory boards fail to act, allowing CEOs to make all the serious decisions. God forbid we will have another situation on our hands like the one we had a while ago when we had to straighten out the confectionery industry together with Minsk Oblast and Gomel Oblast governors after the supervisory boards became an instrument of one unfair businessman, at a price I think,” remarked the head of state. In his words, the system of interaction between state and private investors performs poorly as the investors have to manage joint-stock companies together. “They just don’t operate badly. Sometimes state investors or state-appointed owners go beyond merging their interests with those of private businessmen. The former become an instrument for these private individuals to use. In other words, at present the owner supervision fails to meet the present-day requirements and needs radical improvements”.

    The state owns shares in 1,738 open joint-stock companies. A representative of the state sits on the supervisory board of each of them. “But if we look at the quality of these representatives, we will see that they are not always the people we need there,” said the head of state. In his words, the state representative should be more than “an eye of the government”. He or she should be a highly qualified professional who should inform and take relevant decisions if necessary on problem aspects of the operation of the company.

    The President remarked that today’s government session will discuss the draft decree on improving the system to manage state property and improving the effectiveness of owner supervision. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that copying the system used by Western countries was absolutely unacceptable. He was in favor of taking a closer look at the Chinese system. “If you cannot think up something new, you could at least copy a normal system and adjust it to Belarus’ conditions. But it is not the key point. We understand perfectly well what kind of system we need. We need a precise, definite, simple one. In no way do we need a bureaucratic one. Because if we did, we would create another power vertical that would stretch from the president of the country, as the decree suggests, down to individual agricultural enterprises,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The President continued: “It is certainly necessary to improve the system that we have now, but we don’t need a total redevelopment. We need to act only to address the aspects that need to be addressed. If we have problems at some companies or if there are major enterprises that we should keep an eye on, let’s make decisions. If we have any, let’s appoint reliable state observers, who will be beneficial”. “It is an important matter of the management of enterprises in Belarus, primarily state, strategic, major enterprises,” said the President.