Report by Belkoopsoyuz Chairman of the Board Valery Ivanov and Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Anatoly Lis

    The performance of the Belarusian National Union of Consumer Societies (Belkoopsoyuz) is dissatisfactory in the main areas of the organization’s operation. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he heard out a report from Belkoopsoyuz Chairman of the Board Valery Ivanov and Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Anatoly Lis on 4 September.

    “As far as I can understand, Belkoopsoyuz is not only a manufacturer but primarily a trading enterprise. Retail trade is the key indicator. Sadly it doesn’t increase these days but slightly decreases. The same is true for the public catering branch. In other words, the performance in the main areas of the organization’s operation is falling. It is a reason for concern,” stated the President.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko said it was strange that Belkoopsoyuz regularly applies for financial support and loans to replenish floating assets while other trading companies operate at a profit. The President said he believes that explanations stating that Belkoopsoyuz caters to poor rural Belarusians and bears the burden of using mobile shops to deliver goods to remote villages are not good at all.

    The head of state remarked that in view of this he had made arrangements with Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Tabak Invest Pavel Topuzidis regarding the implementation of a retail project in Shklov District. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the project is supposed to demonstrate how retail needs of a rural area can be taken care of, with excessive agricultural products bought from individuals. “He will do all of it and will show it. He has told me already that he has considered his options,” said the Belarusian leader.

    The President specified that a large multipurpose store will be built in the district capital where customers will be able to find a retail shop, a drugstore, and outlets offering banking services under one roof. Apart from that, there are plans to arrange sales areas of up to 100m2 in every agro-town. “I think we will reach an agreement that the same shop will service all the so-called unpromising and hard-to-reach villages,” noted the head of state.

    “I would like to say that the state-run retail industry is still lazy. These people don’t understand the current situation. The Soviet times when they were monopolists are over. Now the retail chains that the state-run retailers hate and people approve of are ready to service rural areas and produce results,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    Belkoopsoyuz’s project to build a new fur farm in Belarus was also discussed. The head of state underlined that on the whole he always welcomes the establishment of new enterprises, but pointed out that markets to sell future products have to be examined in detail. The President said he was concerned whether the new enterprise will be able to sell fur at a profit.

    Apart from that, Aleksandr Lukashenko warned Belkoopsoyuz against unjustified import since among other things Belkoopsoyuz was planning to import special cages to keep animals. The President was indignant: “You tell me that we cannot make the cages in Belarus and will have to spend millions of U.S. dollars to import them. If you are willing to implement the project, go ahead, you will be responsible for it. But you will not get foreign currency”.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to schedule a large-scale government conference for early 2015 to discuss the performance of Belkoopsoyuz in detail. The President intends to take part in the conference.