Report on situation in Belarus’ light industry
Today's difficult situation that was partially caused by the sanctions opens up new opportunities for the domestic light industry, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he heard out a report from Chairwoman of the Belarusian light industry concern Bellegprom Tatiana Lugina.
The head of state noted that many foreign companies left the Russian market. Imports to Belarus also dropped. “Thus, this opens up an opportunity for you to take this niche in our main market Russia and in the domestic market. Therefore, if you and other sectors, for example, agriculture, miss out on this opportunity, you are worthless. Now you have no one in your way. And you are monopolists by and large, you have no real competition. That is the possibility that this difficult period offers. I keep saying this all the time. A crisis gives us a hard time, but it is a chance, it is an opportunity, first of all, for the light industry. We have everything in place. We have fabrics, we have sewing machines, qualified personnel, including technologists and managers and seamstresses and others who knit and do other things - we have everything. Therefore, everything depends on us and our actions. And if you have any problems, just let me know. We will deal with them right away. It is easier to solve them now,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the focus on exports is a good thing, but one should not forget about the domestic market that turned out to be up for grabs by God knows who. “They brought all kinds of stuff here, from second-hand items to brands. And people bought this schmatte or brands. We have more than 2,000 light industry enterprises, but they were nowhere to be seen,” the President noted.
Apart from Tatiana Lugina, the meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister in charge of manufacturing Pyotr Parkhomchik, Chairman of the State Control Committee Vasily Gerasimov, and Chair of the National Statistical Committee Inna Medvedeva.
Aleksandr Lukashenko started the meeting with a question whether the light industry is as light as it seems. He asked how enterprises operate during this difficult period of the sanctions. “However, we agreed to forget that there are some difficulties and hardships. They are routine and surmountable,” the Belarusian leader said.
He noted that the question extends beyond the enterprises subordinate to the concern to the entire light industry. “I regularly and consistently warned about this. We don't have enterprises without departmental subordination as we often say. We are in charge of all of them, because they operate in our country. We do not put unnecessary pressure on them, it is up to you how to run them. Nevertheless, what kind of relations do you have with private businesses, with enterprises that are not part of your concern? How do they work?” the head of state asked.
Export was another key topic of the report. “How is the state of things with new markets? We all say that supply chains have been disrupted. This is true. But many enterprises and even associations have successfully overcome these problems and rerouted their supplies. Export is the backbone of our economy. Where are we in this?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.
The President also spoke about domestic demand and import substitution. “It is a disaster when our people, though fewer than before, rush to the store and get thrilled to see some imported products. As if we can't sew our own stuff!” he noted.
In this regard, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that all the five participants of the meeting, including himself, were wearing Belarus-made clothes. “I can prove it if you want. I also wear exclusively the clothes of our own make,” the President said.
The head of state wanted to know how his instructions are being implemented. This is the reason why the chairman of the State Control Committee was also invited to attend the event. “It should not be one-way traffic. You oversee the fulfillment of these instructions. I would like to know how they are being carried out. You have a habit of dragging your feet until the President raises this matter for the second or third time with the oversight agency,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing Vasily Gerasimov.
The President continued that the head of the Belarusian Statistical Committee is in control of the situation with the light industry in the domestic market. “This is needed to be able to have a very frank and candid conversation. Numbers are numbers. You can't get away from them. This will be an objective assessment of the work of the light industry in the foreign and domestic markets. The Belarusian Statistical Committee sees everything,” the head of state said.
“Let's be brief and to the point. How are we doing here, what have we failed to do, what problems do we face?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.