Belarus President makes new appointments

    President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko made new appointments. The head of state appointed:

    Finance Minister of the Republic of Belarus
    Chairman of the Minsk City Council
    Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus
    Spokesperson for the President of the Republic of Belarus

    The President also approved the appointment of:

    Chairman of the Vitebsk Oblast Office of the State Control Committee
    Chairman of the Mogilev Oblast Office of the State Control Committee
    Director General of OAO Belaruskali

    Appointing Ivan Golovatyi as Director General of OAO Belaruskali, the Belarus President gave instructions to deal with the shortcomings detected in the operation of the company.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I would like to discuss with you the situation evolving on our potash market on the whole and the operation of Belarusian Potash Company, which takes care of selling potash fertilizers. And the situation in Belaruskali in brief. It is very important. I was told that this year sales of our primary product — Belarusian fertilizers — will secure a considerable increase in foreign currency proceeds into the country”.

    Speaking about the situation in the industrial group Belaruskali, the President stressed: “Although the situation is more or less normal, there are some essential shortcomings, deep-rooted chronic ones that involve a huge amount of foreign currency spent on buying production equipment”.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that such drawbacks are inadmissible. He said that such matters will always be monitored.

    “I was told that some companies have been detected. They either employ or have been founded by children of Belaruskali's executives. And these companies took orders from Belaruskali. It is clear how it was done. It is inadmissible, too. The new head of the company will have to resolve all the problems in one go. No other way to do it. Such things must not happen in the future,” urged the head of state.

    Addressing Igor Lyashenko, Chairman of the Belarusian petrochemical concern Belneftekhim, who was present during the ceremony, the President stressed: “You should personally look into the money spent on Belaruskali's operation. We cannot afford spending $350 million or even $250 million per annum while begging the world for loans to replenish the gold and foreign exchange reserves, to keep up the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble and other things. Belaruskali is a state-owned company. Its workers are paid decent salaries. It means some expenses should be curtailed in order to earn additional foreign currency for the state budget or other top-priority expenses. It is true for all enterprises, particularly Belneftekhim's”.

    Appointing Andrei Shorets as Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out he had been part of the working group tasked with looking into problems of the housing and public utilities industry. “A number of proposals have been worked out. Naturally the main drawbacks in the operation of the housing and utilities industry of the country and primarily in Minsk have been unearthed. A number of proposals have been put forward to normalize the situation in the housing and public utilities industry. Am I to understand you are not waiting for some conclusion of mine regarding the state of affairs? Are the drawbacks being fixed?” said the head of state. Andrei Shorets assured that the necessary work was in progress.

    “We will definitely arrange a government conference at the top level the way it was done for the civil engineering industry to discuss these problems. The most important thing is that I will draw attention to what you have done during the time I gave you to address the unearthed problems,” noted the President. He added that a similar government conference will be held to discuss problems in agriculture, in education. The working group tasked with looking into education problems is busy again to detect shortcomings and determine the avenues, along which the Belarusian education system should develop.

    Appointing the Finance Minister, the President mentioned that it was one of the most prominent figures in the government and the country as a whole.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the work of the finance minister must follow the letter of the law. “We have the budget, the expenses, the plan on revenues and expenses. It is your key document. You cannot have afford any favorites. Everything must be done fairly and in accordance with the law,” said the head of state. “If it is necessary to correct something, to adjust something, you know the laws, you are to submit proposals and we will consider them. But you cannot do anything what shouldn't be done upon instruction of the prime minister, vice premiers because it destabilizes relations in the top-down command structure. If something is owed to Vitebsk, then the city should get it. If Brest is owed something, the city should get it. If some funds are designated for sport programs, social ones and other ones, then the money cannot be spent on different purposes”.

    Addressing the newly appointed Chairman of the State Customs Committee, the President remarked that Yuri Senko was an experienced man and knows the operation of the customs service well, he had taken part in the development of the customs code and the single customs space. “The most important thing is that you know how the customs committee operates, you can organize the work of the customs committee,” said the head of state. “Frankly speaking, I like your approach to organizing the work”.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “To tell you the truth, it seems to me that we are starting to slow down in some areas to a certain degree. We cannot stop! Your job is to build on top of what has been created so far, move it forward, all the more so, because our country is becoming the only transit corridor between the East and the West,” noted the President. He stressed the customs service should be ready to operate in new conditions. “If something is not ready, you should act promptly to address it. The customs service shapes the state budget. We have to get not only what the budget gets according to classical rules. We need new proposals to replenish the budget,” said the head of state. Aleksandr Lukashenko went on saying that Belarus should more actively explore the opportunities the country's transit position offers.