Report on Belarus’ machine-building development strategy

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It is essential to improve the situation in machine-building, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he heard out a report on the strategy to develop the Belarusian machine-building industry on 24 November.

The head of state remarked that an instruction to develop Belarusian machine-building organizations was given at the session last summer. The government has been working on the machine-building development strategy for more than a year; there has been a long recession in this field.

“Leading organizations of the industry received sufficient state support. The state helped machine-building organizations refinance the loans, augment working assets, and thus create preconditions for efficient work. However, there has not been significant progress yet. Someone should be responsible for it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In 2014-2015, the enterprises’ output fell by 50%, the decrease in 2015 was 25%. Against the backdrop of the low base of the previous year, the industrial potential of the industry was replenished by only 3% in January-October 2016. “If we continue developing the manufacturing industry in the same mode and at the same pace, it will take decades to reach the level of 2013. Low progress is inadmissible. There should be serious improvement,” the President stressed. “I want to know if the government has any efficient measures for the upgrade of the industry. Do directors of enterprises have any solutions?”

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that a big group of directors and specialists involved in the designing, manufacture, and sales of equipment and vehicle components as well as the representatives of organizations purchasing and using these products were invited for the meeting for a reason. “I would like the today’s session to be an honest, sincere, and comprehensive discussion of existing obstacles and possible solutions,” the Belarusian leader said.

Belarus’ industry Minister Vitaly Vovk informed the President about the operation of Belarusian machine-building enterprises, their development prospects and strategies, and the influence of global trends on these plans. He also spoke about the objective and subjective reasons in the industry.

On the whole, there is the development strategy of Belarus’ machine-building till 2020 and the prospects till 2030. The head of state was informed about the financial and credit support of enterprises, the work on the markets of partnering countries, the diversification of export.

The President changed the format of the event. The program of the government session included a number of reports on various topics. Instead, he asked concrete questions to ministers, governors, directors, asked about the state of affairs at the biggest enterprises. Such issues as the production plans, collection of receivables, export, warehouse inventory were in the spotlight.

The head of state deemed it necessary to step up efforts to diversify sales markets, including the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He gave an instruction to analyze the operation of the offices of Belarusian companies abroad and their personnel structure.

The President also stressed that it is important to harmonize the production policy in the country because it makes no sense to organize analogous production at various enterprises.

The meeting focused on the quality of products. The head of state demanded to analyze this issue once again and put it under strict control in all stages. “This is our face, the brand of our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

Apart from making certain decisions in the production sector, reforming or upgrading enterprises, the head of state urged directors to focus on their social obligations, the need to raise the earnings of workers. It is clear that there should be a commensurable growth in labor productivity and production efficiency.

The state, in turn, is ready to support enterprises if necessary. For example, this pertains to the accumulation of working assets. The main condition is to find concrete orders and profitable projects.

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the readiness to solve strategic issues concerning the development of the industry at his level and make corresponding decisions. At the same time, he stressed that directors of enterprises and heads of agencies should, first of all, address the issues within the scope of their competence.

“You must count on yourselves. There are too many problems in the world, so people must count on their own efforts. The first one who will start to solve these problems will stay alive. Those who will be lagging behind will drown,” the President said. “Thanks God we are not at war. This is our happiness. But from the point of view of the economy, we must set ourselves for war.”

“I would not have put pressure and would not have insisted, if we were unable to do it. But, as far as I can see, there is a big potential,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

“There are no privileged directors and oligarchs in the country. Everyone must step up efforts and produce results. You do not give me these results. This is your dignity, your enterprises. Please start working. I am convinced that you can work well in this situation,” he said.

In conclusion, Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that the performance of civil servants in 2016 will be thoroughly analyzed. This pertains to the manufacturing sector, agriculture, housing and utilities sector, and other industries.