Meeting with senior officials of Council of Ministers

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Ways to raise the efficiency of state-run enterprises and labor remuneration at budget-sponsored organizations are discussed at the meeting of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko with the senior officials of the Council of Ministers on 3 December.

“When I heard out a government’s report in March I said that coherent and consistent activities are the main priority. First of all, in the government. If we call for the creation of the comfortable legal environment and declare higher investments in the human capital and at the same time neglect the fact that billions of U.S. dollars are lost due to economic mismanagement, we will, probably, fail to accomplish our goals till 2020. We need to watch our money,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that strategic issues such as Belarus’ economic development and certain problems were discussed at the meeting last week. Besides, urgent issues emerge from time to time. “Such meetings with the government focus on the issues which require additional information. Legal acts regulating these issues are not easy. We need to discuss them,” the President said.

He added that the meetings of this format with the Belarus President Administration, the government and the State Secretariat of the Security Council are held regularly when necessary so that all participants could report to the head of state directly without an apparatus filter. “But I do not want such meetings to turn into the attempts to solve something bypassing the existing rules. We don’t need to break the system,” the Belarusian leader said.

In his words, the today’s meeting should focus on the provision of Br500,000 million of state support to agricultural organizations. “Unfortunately, the government intentionally avoided this topic when a draft budget for 2019 was discussed. If we have an opportunity to support somebody, I determined a clear procedure in May. First, tell me that you have done your best to find reserves, reduce all kinds of costs, especially non-production costs, find out who is responsible for the miserable state of affairs at enterprises,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that qualified specialists who can distribute support wisely are needed. “The Belarus President Administration informed the government about these criteria several times, and the procedure must be strictly observed,” the President said.

He asked the participants of the session to inform him about systematic problems which became the reason for the meeting.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that a proposal was made to make certain officials the representatives of the state in supervisory councils. “Relying on his own experience, the prime minister said that a proper management system will help an enterprise return the investments.”

“At the same time, civil servants and businessmen have different understanding how enterprises work. Besides, I doubt that those who will be in charge will be good aides to the directors of those enterprises. If we dig deeper we will realize that these people will be more than just aides, they will at least take part in the process of making decisions and even make certain decisions. Let’s discuss this issue,” the President said.

The head of state outlined concrete issues regarding the operation of enterprises which he wanted to discuss at the meeting. One of the entries is a yeast factory in Slutsk District. “On the one hand, you have submitted a draft technical resolution to increase the authorized fund of this enterprise. On the other hand, after the analysis of the documents it occurred to me that this might be an attempt to circumvent the problem. The enterprise’s sales margin is minus 112%. I don’t know how it operates with such figures,” the President said.

He also spoke about OAO Sukno. “If the government believes that the problem can be solved with the help of €92 million from the budget… Were there other suggestions? Is it the only way to restore the enterprise to the level of the Soviet Union?”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also wanted to know about the state of affairs at OAO Kamvol, about the organization of work, about the improvement progress.

Another issue on the agenda was the remuneration of labor at budget-sponsored organizations. “The government suggests rather serious innovations to unify, streamline and simplify everything. Any positive changes will be supported. But you must remember that there are 850,000 workers of budget-sponsored organizations in Belarus. The state must support and protect them,” the Belarusian leader said.

A draft decree on the state social insurance is also discussed. The President emphasized that all changes in the social sector should be considered well. “But we must bear in mind that the deficit of the social security fund increased nine times,” Aleksandr  Lukashenko said.