Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session to discuss draft decrees in agribusiness

    The development of the Belarusian agricultural industry will not include revolutionary changes. The state will continue to support agricultural producers. The priority will be attached to the projects that promise considerable returns on investment. The statement was made by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the session to discuss draft decrees regarding the agrarian policy development on 10 June.

    The President acknowledged that the agricultural industry had secured considerable gross production and export figures, however, the state of economy in this sector and the pace of agricultural production development arouse justified concerns.

    As a result of the work done by the interagency taskforce led by the prime minister to straighten out the agricultural industry four draft decrees have been prepared and submitted for consideration of the head of state. “Let us hope the four draft decrees are not a formality. I would like to hear whether these four legal acts are sufficient for ensuring more or less calm performance of Belarusian agriculture,” the President remarked.

    The legal documents are designed to improve the agrarian policy of the Belarusian state. They primarily target measures of state support for agricultural producers, government purchases, monetary management policy in the industry, the restructuring of the existing debt, and the optimization of the organization structure. Apart from that, the draft decrees suggest greatly reducing interest rates on loans available to Belarusian agricultural enterprises.

    The head of state underlined that if the aforementioned decrees are signed, credit debts will not be written off. Debts can only be restructured and their repayment can only be delayed.

    “Do not expect any gifts. Nobody is going to write off anything. Everyone will have to pay up. We will support farmers but not at the expense of the entire state and the nation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

    According to the head of state, the suggested measures have to provide targeted support to individual agricultural projects that promise considerable returns on investment.

    The President pointed out that banks of any kind, including those with a share of foreign capital that earn considerable profits in Belarus, must not remove themselves from the work to resolve this problem. Relevant instructions have been given to the Chairwoman of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

    The head of state reminded the governors that they have to fulfill the previously given instruction to create an effective system to train agricultural personnel using the top-performing agricultural enterprises as an example.

    Addressing the oblast administrations, Aleksandr Lukashenko also pointed out that decisions regarding the financial rehabilitation of agricultural enterprises, including their bankruptcy, cannot be made without involving the government. “It is up to you to make the decisions. Then we will not see bandit privatization via bankruptcy,” the head of state said.

    The President warned participants of the session against indulging too much in free pricing practices in agriculture as a way to resolve the problem of disparity between prices for the industrial products used by agricultural enterprises and prices for the agricultural products that farmers sell.

    Agriculture does not like revolutionary changes, stressed the head of state.

    Summing up results of the discussion, Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the Finance Ministry and the Economy Ministry to provide calculations regarding the possible financial consequences of the draft decrees for the national economy, primarily for the public sector.