Session to discuss production and sale of alcohol products

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On 20 August Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a government session to discuss the production and sale of alcohol product. He demanded to step up control in this industry.

The head of state underlined that alcohol products are a special excisable kind of merchandise, trade in which is closely controlled by the government everywhere on the planet. “Belarus is no exception. We permanently keep an eye on the matter. The state enjoys monopoly on everything in this field. Whether it is true is the first question that has to be answered today,” said the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that a special decree was passed on 1 July 2015 to introduce additional protective measures to bolster the state regulation of the manufacturing and turnover of alcohol products.

“Instructions have been given to prevent poor-quality products from penetrating the domestic market and reduce the shady trade in alcohol beverages. Apart from the state budget losing money, poor-quality alcohol represents a threat to the health and lives of the people,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

However, Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that certain negative trends still persist in this area. In particular, more alcohol is imported, shady trade in alcohol products is on the rise, while domestic production is falling. “Unfortunately, the government has been extremely indecisive in taking measures to protect the domestic market. It won’t do,” believes the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he would like those present to provide clear answers to a number of questions. In particular, what interferes with the protection of the domestic market? Why does not export grow but falls although the alcohol production capacity exceeds the domestic demand by two times? What measures are taken to promote Belarusian products in retail in Belarus and abroad?

Aleksandr Lukashenko warned those present against coming up with excuses for the poor state of affairs in the alcohol industry. He said he wanted concrete measures to protect people.

“Strict control over the production and sale of alcohol products is the main duty for the government. We cannot allow selling low-quality fake and counterfeited alcohol to Belarusian people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“As specialists say, the active policy of the government has almost ruined the industry. Excise duties increased prices. Alongside with counterfeited alcohol products this led to lower demand and budget losses,” the head of state said.

He also stressed: “Because of various corrupt practices such bribes, legalization of bribes by turning them into awards and bonuses, certain private organizations occupied about 35% of the market and unfairly squeezed state-owned organizations, including with the help of networks.” The President emphasized that the dictatorship of networks is inadmissible. It has already reached the intolerable limit.

“As I have already said, state-owned enterprises are being squeezed out. State-owned enterprises have to sell alcohol products at a discount of up to 40%, and, as I have already said, manufacturers often provide unreasonable bonuses and awards to retail networks,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President asked the Trade Minister who is in charge of these issues to report on the situation in the industry.

The head of state also said that counterfeited products from Russia and other countries impose huge pressure on the country. “Why cannot the government protect the domestic market?” the President asked a reasonable question. He also said that specialists suggest toughening the responsibility for the delivery of counterfeited products to Belarus.

The President emphasized that the dictatorship of networks is inadmissible. It has already reached the intolerable limit. The head of state also focused on the problem of untimely payments for alcohol products.