Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session on current affairs of Belarus’ socio-economic development

    Keeping the financial sphere stable, balanced development of the real production sector of the economy, and better social protection of our people should be top priorities. The statement was made by President of the republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko at the government session held on 9 October to discuss current affairs of the country’s social and economic development.

    “The current year is drawing to a close, the fourth quarter is about to begin. Sincerely speaking, it is the only chance to fix and remove the problems that exist now. We can assess results of the year with a high degree of probability. With this in mind the tactics of our actions in the near future may have to be corrected a bit,” the Belarusian head of state said.

    According to the President, it is necessary to analyze whether current state budget expenses are optimized well, including government programs. It is necessary to clearly determine the priorities to focus government money on.

    The head of state drew attention to the prices and tariffs, including tariffs on housing and utility services. He was interested in learning whether the government’s decisions in this area had been properly balanced.

    “I want to warn you. If you are trying to resolve long-standing issues in the context of current problems and difficulties, and if the government is itching to increase the burden on people two or three times, this strategy is wrong. Nobody will be allowed to strangle people and this is not populism,” the Belarusian head of state said addressing the government and Prime Minister Mikhail myasnikovich.

    “Even if prices and rates grow, the growth should be reasonable and people should be able to pay them with their salaries and incomes. We have talked about it several times,” the head of state remarked.

    The President emphasized that the increase in prices and rates, if any, should be gradual, not sharp. “However, the following usually happens here: the government keeps sleeping until it wakes up half a year later to say that it needs to raise something by 40%. Could you not increase prices by 2-3%, as you simultaneously raise salaries?” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered.

    The head of state also wanted reports about key aspects of the monetary management policy with regard to the present-day reality.

    “Apart from that, the most important documents that will determine the state social and economic policy for the next year will be adopted soon. In addition to hearing what is going on today, I can see it myself, too, I would like to hear how it will translate into the next year, what we will have taking into account the present day. The government and the National Bank have already come up with proposals regarding the draft social and economic development forecast, the state budget, and the major monetary management guidelines. Therefore, I would like to hear what new things can be suggested. What are the forecasts regarding the development of the production sector and the financial sector of the Belarus economy taking into account results of the current year and plans for the next year?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    The President remarked that experts of the Belarus President Administration had already had a look at the relevant matters. He wondered about the estimated tightness of projections and the feasibility of reaching the goals.

    “Keep in mind that I’ve directly instructed our parliamentarians to scrutinize the future effectiveness of suggested government expenses. So the parliament will have a serious talk with you when the relevant documents have to be adopted,” the Belarusian President warned.

    Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the global situation was very complicated and the fact cannot be disregarded. “But we cannot blame the world and the global crisis all the time. It will not make things easier for us if we do. We should pay close attention to the rational use of financial resources and other ones and the introduction of frugality practices across the board,” the President believes.

    “Top priorities will be keeping the financial sphere stable, balanced development of the real sector of the economy, and better social protection of our people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

    The head of state said he wanted concrete proposals from participants of the government session regarding the entire range of outlined issues. “Today we need unordinary decisions. If we talk about ordinary ones, then selling what we have stockpiled is the primary one,” the Belarusian head of state said.

    “I would like the Prime Minister to keep it in mind and ministers and heads of companies even more so. All these lies regarding the reduction of the warehouse stock the way it looks now – some has been transported to Lithuania or Russia or somewhere else, no money has been earned but tractors, automobiles are just stored over there in warehouses of dealers… Let me tell you publicly that someone will face prison time for it,” the President said. “Did you forget what Borovsky (former MAZ Director General Alexander Borovsky) had to do to clean up the mess? Several tens of millions of money was lost like that,” he added.

    “I do not understand who you are trying to deceive. I have enough people to analyze things and report them to me. One Rudyi (Aide to the President Kirill Rudyi) is enough, who can visit enterprises, demand reports as an aide to the president, examine the state of affairs and report what is going on to me,” the head of state said.

    “I am going to forward the relevant documents to you today. You just read and see what members of the government and heads of enterprises are up to. If you said you will get merchandise sold, then do so. You sketched out the schedule yourselves. We have promises of [First Vice Premier of Belarus Vladimir] Semashko and ministers on record. You can listen to excerpts and then give me answers,” the Belarusian President noted.

    “Getting money into the country is the most important thing instead of transporting merchandise abroad and dumping it over there. Sell it wherever you like but the country has to earn money. I want you to turn attention to the quality of the work of your enterprises,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

    Top officials of the Belarusian government and the National Bank of the republic of Belarus (NBRB) informed the President about the main approaches to social and economic development till the end of 2013 and in 2014. They are based on balanced development, worthwhile lending to the economy, and quality improvements. The President backed these approaches and remarked that the government and the National Bank will be responsible for results of the program’s implementation.

    The head of state was also informed about expected results of this year’s state budget execution and approaches to shaping the state budget for the next year. It was noted that due to the worsening foreign market situation revenues of the central state budget are below expectations. Therefore, the government has revised the budget policy for the remaining part of the year and suggested several restrictions concerning spending. However, the restrictions will not be applied to top-priority payments relevant for maintaining living standards of the nation and the operation of the public sector.

    The head of state approved of the rigorous approaches suggested as part of the state budget’s revision. Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the need for saving money at every step. He said that state budget spending should be more effective. The draft state budget for 2014 will soon be submitted to the President for consideration.