Meeting with Belarus’ Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov

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The tendency that took shape in 2014 when the growth of labor productivity outpaced the growth of wages should be maintained, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he heard out a report of Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov on 22 January.

Aleksandr Lukashenko told Andrei Kobyakov that it is essential to eradicate red tape, focus on material production and boost export. “These are our main objectives,” the President stressed.

The head of state also remarked the he is in favor of discussing the most urgent economic issues at the level of the president.

The meeting focused on rented housing, production of cars at BelGee.

"We took a decision on rental accommodation. We should act based on,” he said.

“The rules will not be altered. There will be no loopholes or more favorable terms for someone. Rental housing should not be offered to those who are not entitled to it. There should be no exceptions! A level playing field for all,” he said. He noted that rental housing should be distributed according to the standard procedure. If there is a possibility that rental housing remains unclaimed, we should think twice before we start building it, the President said.

As for the manufacture of Geely cars, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: "We can, of course, promote the sale of cars or anything else if we see that this will benefit the budget and the state in a month or two or six months. Anything else is not our concern. Anyone who wants to buy a car will buy it.”

Today is not a good time for handouts or subsidies, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “We can help people buy a car if this can benefit the state in one way or another. There should be no other rules. We should have a level playing field for all,” The President added.

The prime minister informed Aleksandr Lukashenko about the preliminary economic results of 2014. In his words, the GDP growth was 1.6%. He noted with regret that this figure is below the target of 3.3%. However, it is slightly higher than in the neighboring countries.

“On the whole, the situation is complicated. The economic growth rate would not have satisfied us if it had not been for the situation which we see today on external markets,” Andrei Kobyakov said. He noted that Belarus achieved a surplus in foreign trade. With the target of 0.1% of the GDP, the preliminary surplus makes up about $600 million, according to the balance of payments of the National Bank.

According to the prime minister, six regions of the country, except for Mogilev Oblast, managed to increase the gross regional product. Vitebsk Oblast, Grodno Oblast and Minsk Oblast have hit the target.

The industrial output went up by 1.9%. According to the head of government, it is due to the vibrant potash industry, processing industry and thanks to the efforts to diversify export. The delivery of products to the domestic market in certain industries went up 0.4%.

The prime minister said that after modernization such industries as wood processing, pulp-and-paper production, chemical industry became more efficient.

As for the backlog of inventory, in 2014 it made up 75.8% of the industrial output. This figure is higher than the target. However, from the beginning of the year the backlog of inventory was reduced by $1.3 billion. It is quite a good result, according to the prime minister.