Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session to discuss brewing development prospects
President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has held a session to discuss the development prospects of the brewing industry.
The President reminded that the previous time these matters were discussed about seven years ago. Back then decisions were made in favor of a large-scale retooling of the breweries. Rules to regulate the access of the world’s top brewing companies to the Belarusian market were stipulated. Back then instructions were given to create modern manufacturing facilities, increase the output figures, increase the production of Belarusian beer brands and substitute imports. “My judgment was based on the fact that beer is alcohol, too. While I don’t appreciate the taste of beer and drink virtually none of it, alcohol is a great source of revenue for the state budget. Why is the industry getting destroyed then? It is the key reason for today’s meeting,” said the head of state.
As much as $300 million has been spent on modernizing the industry, including $30 million allocated by the state budget. As much as $160 million came as proprietary money of state and private companies, with considerable credit resources of Belarusian and foreign banks utilized. “We have fitted the enterprises with high-tech equipment made by internationally recognized companies just the way you wanted,” noted the Belarusian leader.
As a result, the manufacturing capacity has increased up to virtually 70 million decaliters of beer per annum. The amount is enough to satisfy the domestic market and then export some. “The raw materials base of the brewing industry has been modernized in the name of the revolution with this in mind. Every year over 150,000 tonnes of brewer’s barley is harvested in Belarus. The amount is sufficient for manufacturing and export,” noted the head of state.
The President was interested in learning about the economic effect from the massive investments in the brewing industry, about the profitability of the industry, whether the government plans for the industry had been implemented successfully, and whether export and foreign currency proceeds had been increased.
Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the failure to fulfill import substitution plans. For the last three years the majority of state and private brewing companies have been showing losses. “In other words, the Belarusian brewing industry surrenders to foreign competition. I believe this state of affairs is inadmissible!” stressed the President. “Why don’t you try to export Belarusian beer to the European Union? Will they allow you to? It is said that importers use dumping prices. Don’t we have laws to counteract it?”
Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that while the overall picture is not good, individual breweries operate at a profit, keep high workloads on their equipment, and increase production. It means that it is possible to work effectively on the market, stressed the head of state.