Report of Chairman of State Customs Committee Yuri Senko

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report of Chairman of the State Customs Committee Yuri Senko on 17 July. Top on the agenda of the meeting were budget revenues, foreign trade promotion , law enforcement and optimization of customs agencies.  

The head of state asked about the contribution of the State Customs Committee to the budget revenues. “What do we get from the State Customs Committee and how things were last year and this year? As far as I know, we have a substantial increase in budget revenues. This is a number one priority,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“Question number two: the situation within customs agencies. What is the state of things there? You took charge in order to fix issues, which were many. You are a professional. I count on you to bring order to the committee. What about the law enforcement?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.

The president stated that there have been fewer corruption-related cases in customs agencies. “Probably, we have not fully eradicated it. However, things seem to have changed dramatically. I really hope so,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state spoke about optimization of the customs authorities. “Have we managed to achieve our goals? We planned some downsizing by means of merges and optimization. However, to be frank, there is not much room for downsizing there. It is an effective agency that brings money and we kept numbers small there. Even when we needed more personnel, we did not hire people relying on what we have,” the president noted.

Efforts to counteract the import of embargoed products to Russia were mentioned at the meeting.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “It is a major headache for us. We do a crazy amount of work for Russia. The customs service and other agencies tell me that quarrels happen all the time over there. Biased articles [in mass media] are frequent. And we are getting reprimanded. Instead of gratitude they often blame us for doing a poor job stopping the embargoed goods.”

The head of state stressed: “Has the problem been resolved? If not, we should speak up about it. Because, according to the security agencies, all the negative processes relating to the banned imports and other matters are handled by Russian companies, sometimes major ones, with big entrepreneurs in positions of power behind them. We should speak about it, too. No need to be shy. Don’t tell the Russian customs service. Tell the government and the president of the Russian Federation so that they could straighten things out. I say it to Putin often. But facts should be presented.”