Meeting with senior officials of Belarus’ Council of Ministers

  • 15
  • 15:38

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a meeting with the senior officials of the Council of Ministers on 22 October.

“Today we will discuss a wide range of issues, but they are united by one thing – the focus on the resolution of topical problems in our society,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

On protection of personal data

The head of state recalled that in May 2021 a law was adopted to protect people’s rights while processing their personal data. “The government and the Operations and Analysis Center believe that a separate authority should be set up to supervise the observance of this law,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He demanded a report on the outcomes of a comprehensive study of this issue: what options were considered and what is proposed to be done in this field taking into account international practices. “And, most importantly, our capabilities,” added the president.

“Why don’t you consider assigning the function of ensuring personal data protection to one of the existing bodies?” the head of state asked.

On electric vehicles

It I essential to ramp up the use of electric transport in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He emphasized that this is one of the most promising industries. “The global practice shows that the decision to develop electric transport and introduce infrastructure for it was right. Virtually all countries are doing it today. It is also important for us as we do not have abundant oil resources and have recently launched the Belarusian nuclear power plant,” he said.

Apart from the purely economic dimension, the ecological aspect is also important. Therefore, we should step up efforts to create necessary conditions for the operation of this new sector, the president remarked.

About a year ago a decision was made to stimulate the interest of the population in buying electric cars. The government believes that this tactic proved effective. “Now it is essential to introduce additional stimuli,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president asked the participants of the whether these stimuli will help satisfy the demand for electric vehicles in passenger and commercial transportation. He also asked if these measures will make these vehicles more affordable for people and business.

“Apart from that, don’t forget about the infrastructure. Quick-recharge stations should be available all over the country. As of today, only 10% of petrol stations offer such services. We need more. I have recently discussed it with the person who is in charge of it – the director of Belorusneft. I gave him an instruction, all issues were addressed, and now he has all tools for the development of this business. Necessary equipment is produced in Belarus. I want you to tell me about the consequences of such decisions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

On implementation of an investment project

The status of a number of investment project was also discussed at the meeting. "The information regarding the progress in a number of investment projects is troubling. We cannot miss the deadlines, because this will entail significant financial and economic losses.

Every ruble counts today, more than ever," the president noted.

For the comprehensive consideration of the issue, the officials who supervised many of the investment projects during their tenure in the office, have been invited to the meeting.

"I believe that a number of issues could be resolved without the involvement of the head of state. We have more urgent and pressing problems to deal with now. First of all, this is the ongoing pandemic," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

On prices and people’s incomes

One of the topical issues on the agenda was the price rise. The head of state ordered to keep prices in check: “We are approaching a winter period and in addition to the COVID-19 response, we need to curb the price rise so that people will not have to struggle to survive. This pertains first and foremost to food prices,” the president said.

He noted that price rises are a very sensitive issue for people. “A crucial issue. We have officials in charge of it and they should take care of this problem. Otherwise, you will have to face the music later,” the president said addressing the attendees.

“Along with the adoption of anti-inflationary measures, we need to sort things out in the economic sectors responsible for food security. The trends that I see in the agricultural sector are sometimes alarming, though the government has lent a helping hand in every possible way,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

On harvesting

According to the head of state, harvesting has already been completed by and large. Only harvesting of corn for grain is still underway, and the president ordered to step up this work and complete it in the near future, while the weather is good. “I see that we are getting additional millions, thousands of tonnes of grain that we need. And by the end of the year our grain production might exceed 9 million tonnes. Of course, this is not 10 million tonnes of last year, but 9 million tonnes will be enough to meet the domestic needs,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

Separately, Aleksandr Lukashenko inquired about the situation with the establishment of stabilization funds: “Here I want to remind you, executives of all levels, that since Soviet times we have been using these stabilization funds as a reserve to smooth out price surges and meet the consumer demand in the off-season. In other words, cabbage, potatoes, beets, carrots and other products that we put in storages are meant to meet the consumer demand in the autumn-winter period until a new harvest appears. Make sure these products are in good supply.”

The president noted that winter feed management and vegetable supplies will be discussed again in November.

On fake news

Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the spread of fake news in certain mass media and on the Internet.

“We need to address many issues. These issue will be brought to you from different sides. I have already said that we have enough scoundrels, I cannot call them differently,” the head of state said. “99.8% of the information they are spreading is fake news. However, there is certain information that we must pay attention to. Therefore, this monitoring in underway. Besides, we also analyze it during off-site events.”

“Of course, I do not want to enumerate those fakes, but the State Control Committee checked a few thing during the night and in the morning. You can be really astonished by some things. They will write that dozens and hundreds of people are dying in hospitals, that we do not have enough oxygen, medications, treatment, and other things. I can say that 99.8% of this information is fake. But everybody should understand that any information is scrutinized,” the Belarusian leader said.

On executive discipline

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, executive discipline is very important for civil servants in the current situation. “We are at war, figuratively speaking. Executive discipline is imperative in this difficult situation. Sole leadership is important now. When there is a war, there is no time for discussing different options for a week, because thousands of people might die during this time. It is better to act rather than keep dancing around the subject,” the president said.

“I have made balanced decisions that have been supported by people. You were not against them, either. Then, we should abide by them. If you fail to execute any of them, you will no longer be working with me. Please take no offense. It concerns everyone. Especially those in Minsk, where my main aide is Natalya Kochanova [Belarus President’s Aide for Minsk, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic], and also the Minister of Internal Affairs (Ivan Kubrakov who is also President’s Aide for Minsk]. And still you wait for some instructions from the president to be able to deal with some issues,” the president said. 

The president said that he had made all the necessary decisions regarding both COVID-19 and agriculture. “They must be executed. I am just warning everyone. Any repetition of the situations like those in Bobruisk or Minsk is unacceptable (when the city authorities were slow to cancel the poorly made decisions). And those decisions remained in place for some time,” the Belarusian leader said.