Report of Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashneko heard out a report of Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko on 31 October.
Attending the meeting were also First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov, Chairman of the State Control Committee Vasily Gerasimov and Chairperson of the National Statistical Committee Inna Medvedeva.
On the state of affairs in the economy
“First of all, how is our economy doing? We are stating - and it is true – a certain recovery and growth of the economy in general over the past months, weeks. I say this on purpose and emphasize it so that our people understand that not everything is perfect. They sometimes criticize us for the fact that ministers allegedly paint the situation in brighter colors, especially the economy minister. The economy minister does not embellish anything, he talks about the economy in general, about the situation at its macro level. And he is right to do so. In order to build a strategy, we must see the macro level and conduct an appropriate macroeconomic policy. We cannot do without it in tactics, too,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
According to the President, this does not mean that the authorities do not see the real situation at small and medium-sized enterprises and problems at large production facilities. “They have always been there, and moreover now amid sanctions. In general, however, the economy in certain areas is showing good results,” the head of state said.
In his words, he invited the heads of our Statistical Committee and the State Control Committee to see the real situation, including in the economic sector. The head of state recalled that the task was to keep the economic indicators at least at last year's level. “At least, they must meet the last year’s level. It would be great if they surpass it,” the President said.
On repaying the state debt
One of the topics of the report was the repayment of public debt. The head of state asked how things were in this field.
“Especially when it comes to unfriendly countries as we call them, which are now many. My instruction was very clear and it should be fulfilled: we are reliable payers and we are ready to pay our debts, after all, we do not owe that much to the West. However, they refused to accept currency from Belarus. Well, then we suggested that we pay in the Belarusian ruble. They rejected this proposal as well. Therefore, my instruction was to credit these payments in Belarusian rubles to separate accounts. The money will be there waiting for them to change their mind. If they don’t, so be it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
On projects of the State Authority for Military Industry and the nuclear power plant
The next issue raised by the President was the implementation of projects of the State Authority for Military Industry. Here, as the head of the state noted, Belarus has very big plans. “I know that we have begun implementing some of the projects. Apart from the military-industrial complex I would also like to hear out the information about the nuclear power plant and its operation,” he added.
On finishing the harvesting campaign
"The most important thing is to complete the harvesting campaign. Good weather has set in. We need to finish harvesting corn for grain immediately. We had rains, than frosty weather. What is happening to the grain? It cracks and is lost. Therefore, it is important we complete the harvesting corn for grain soon," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Naturally, we need to finish harvesting beets and conduct autumn plowing. Therefore, we need to work fast and complete field works by 7 November. Beets harvesting can be finished by 10 Movember”
On joint projects with Russia
The President reminded that Belarus and Russia are focused on import substitution. Russia earmarks $1.5 billion for integration projects.
“These are joint projects. Both Belarus and also Russia benefit from them. Even more Russia than Belarus. This is why Russia finances them. How are we doing here?" Aleksandr Lukashenko asked. "In the near future, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and I will meet once again to sum up the results of the year and plan, at least at the level of Presidents, our tasks for the coming year."
The head of state asked about the state of affairs in cooperation with Russia, the main market for Belarusian goods. “How are our agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin implemented?” asked the head of state.
“Don’t forget about prices. I invited Mr Snopkov [First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov was in attendance] to remind him that my demand regarding price regulation and price setting is not just some instruction or wish on the spur of the moment. I tell him about it every day. And I would like to hear updates on it. Probably you did not foresee everything in the government resolution, as is usually the case. But if we missed something, it is necessary to rectify it,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko responded to some talks that “the so-called business has gone sour” in Belarus lately. “When I ask what kind of business, they say that these are individual entrepreneurs who have always caused us trouble. Putting the interests of this kind of business above the interests of the whole country is too much. If they bring here some goods, sell them, it means that they are doing well,” the head of state said.
On the work of self-employed entrepreneurs
Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that he had previously given instructions, including to Nikolai Snopkov, to work out approaches to organizing the work of this category. The President said: “We’ve repeatedly mentioned the operation of these so-called self-employed businessmen, who peddle goods and don’t even have invoices for these goods. And back then we agreed it is necessary to help self-employed businessmen, who do this kind of trade, and enable wholesale deliveries of merchandise to Belarus. Directly to Belarus. So that they would not have to travel all over Russia, Turkiye, or China where these goods are flogged to them without invoices. At god knows what prices. And certificates are not always proper.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko recommended that the first deputy prime minister should get back to these instructions. “God help you if these instructions are not fulfilled! This is why you shouldn’t push away anyone. And you shouldn’t offend them. It is necessary to create an opportunity for them to work. To work transparently. And time has come to operate transparently and not interfere with the operation of the light industry. Because they bring goods of unknown quality and flog it to our people here for cheap. While the performance of our own light industry is constantly falling. [Chairwoman of the Belarusian state light industry concern Bellegprom Tatiana] Lugina mentioned it the other day,” the head of state said.
“This is why we shouldn’t offend anyone but they have to operate transparently. And prices have to be under control. According to the government’s resolution. Don’t forget that we will meet to discuss the matter after 7 November. I want you to be ready to report what has been done, what the market situation is, and so on,” Aleksandr Lukashenko warned.