Aleksandr Lukashenko visits OAO Keramin 

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko demands that all companies should enforce iron discipline and fulfill all the instructions given before. Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he visited OAO Keramin on 12 November.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that he came to Keramin to inspect the progress in modernization and to see how the company fulfils his instruction to increase the state share in the company.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the country is busy upgrading domestic companies. This will allow resolving the currency issue, among other things. “Of course, it is not a perfect time for modernization. Europe is struggling through crises. Russia and other former USSR republics simply collapsed. We will eventually pull through the crisis, however, it will be hard to make progress without modernization,” the head of state said.

“We spend a lot of money, but we should not stop. Otherwise, we will stay behind our neighbors,” the head of state said. He added that it is getting harder to sell products on traditional markets. “However, we should remember that no matter how hard it can be, we need to penetrate new markets. We should not worship Russia all the time. If Russia fails, we will tumble, too,” the President said. “Of course, it is not easy. We will have to oust someone from these markets. But we have to do it. There is no other way,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus needs to switch to local raw materials faster. The country should not buy abroad what it can buy at home. According to the President, it will be much cheaper and will help resolve the foreign currency issue.

“Why are you mad at me? I told you what you should do, so go ahead. As long as you keep electing me, I will make decisions and you will fulfill them,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded about the situation at OAO Borisovdrev. “Do I really have to go there to put things right? They said that a year was not enough. Now they say they will handle it in a week. A week is enough for the things that could not be done in a year? They will throw millions, billions of Belarusian rubles down the drain, wreck the machinery and will heroically try to fix the mess they have done before. It is not okay. It is not how it is supposed to be, especially, at such a company,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that OAO Borisovdrev was not a well-performing company, but the government gave it money for modernization, therefore the company had to put things right. “If the state helps you and people have been mobilized, you need to do something. The task had been set a year ago. I came again and saw that the company failed to accomplish some of the tasks and was badly managed. On top of that, they tried to conceal it! Why are you hiding it? It takes me just a glance to see what I need to check. Why are you doing it?” the President wondered.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he will tour all major companies where he had given instructions before. “It is not a president’s job, but I have to do it, because the government does not work,” he added.

“They thought they would be able to get away with it. It is unacceptable,” the President said. Speaking about Boris Batura, he noted that he was one of the best governors; however the instructions of the head of state should be faultlessly fulfilled.

Addressing Minsk Mayor Nikolai Ladutko, the President instructed him to prepare the capital city for the winter and fix things in all the districts of the city.

“There has been a dump behind Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant for several years already. Neither Kobyakov nor Ladutko sees it,” the President said.

“If we think that we are civilized people, if we are in the center of Europe, we should act like civilized people. This is the essence of my demands. Foreigners come here and say that Minsk is such a beautiful city. We should measure up to it,” the President said.

“Today the state owns about 60%, it is little, someone doesn’t do their job properly,” said the head of state. “I don’t want that. I don’t want you to reproach me several years later for failing to see this thievery”.

The state share in the public joint-stock company OAO Keramin has to be raised up to 80% by mid-2014.

I don’t want that. I don’t want you to reproach me several years later for failing to see this thievery”.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that in the past he had made the decision in favor of returning the enterprise to the state. “Your former administrators attempted to pocket the company. It was wrong, it shouldn’t be like that! It is a people’s company, it was created at the expense of the nation and the nation owns it,” stressed the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that if a foreign investor is willing to buy the enterprise, it will be done in line with the established procedure. He went on saying that the procedure for privatizing enterprises in Belarus involves a lot of red tape.

“You must have been deceived. Therefore I will instruct the State Control Committee and the KGB to clarify the situation. We saw that violations were starting and therefore demanded the return of the enterprise to the state,” the President told OAO Keramin workers. “I made the decision that the shares must be returned to the state. Instead of taking them away a minimal price has to be paid”.

“If anyone is willing to buy it and offer a good price, we will see whether we should sell it or not,” said the head of state. “But we are fed up with private owners already”. Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded about the situation regarding the Minsk-based company Kommunarka. In his words, the enterprise operates at a profit even in the time of crisis after the management was changed. “Every private owner thinks about his or her own pockets first. If you have created the company from the ground up, all is well. If you want to grab a ready-made company, it is not good. I don’t want everything ransacked,” noted the head of state.

“You can see that today the demand for Belarusian enterprises is huge. Russia would like to buy some as if it doesn’t have its own enterprises. Why? Because we haven’t ruined our enterprises. Some enterprises are now prosperous like Belaruskali. After some deliberations they told me they would buy the enterprise. I told them to pay $32 billion for the entire enterprise or a part of it. Once they said it was too expensive, our ways parted. They have tried another way but have failed,” said the President.

“My job is to protect the state and state property,” he emphasized.

“Don’t be offended by my relentlessness, such is the time. Many outside Belarus would like to grab a company or two, Keramin, Belorusneft, one oil refinery, another one… Everyone is itching to do that,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “And today’s pressure is not because I am a bad person, a dictator, but because I don’t give in. I don’t give the enterprises to the East or the West while they are eager to grab the enterprises for a song. We cannot agree to that”.

The President said that the employment procedure in Belarus will be improved soon.

“It seems to me we have to revive the practice of asking for references from the previous employer or something,” said the head of state. “There are too many slackers, who believe that the president will make their employers pay salaries while the employees will just smoke or come to work drunk”.

“We should streamline the system for hiring people and for making the transition from one job to another,” added the President.

Speaking about job contracts, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that every employer must switch to using them within six months. “Too many people still work without contracts. May the trade unions deal with the issue,” said the head of state.