Meeting with senior officials of Council of Ministers

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the senior officials of the Council of Ministers on 5 July.

"Last year, we agreed to put together one regulatory legal act that would regulate the most important provisions in this area with an absolutely transparent scheme for the implementation of these provisions. Indeed, Belarus avoided indiscriminate privatization. They used to call it shock privatization. Long-established enterprises steadily operate in the country, new production facilities are set up, including at state industrial sites. However, we need to increase the efficiency of the use of state assets. By the way, this also applies to private manufactures," the head of state said.

He noted that the government has prepared the comprehensive daft regulating the management of not only 100% state assets but also the assets of business entities with a share of the state.

The main amendments are related to the redistribution of powers between government bodies.

Aleksandr Lukashenko welcomed this approach and considers redistribution of powers as a right and necessary move.  He also stressed that there are two fundamental issues: the management of land (agricultural land, forest resources) and state assets. These things are within the terms of reference of the President. "But both issues need to be delegated top-down to some extent," he said.

The head of state recalled the recent decision on land plots. In some things powers have been delegated to the heads of the district administrations. "People on the ground know better. But some issues such as allocating agricultural land and forests for residential development or some other projects will remain within the terms of reference of the President. Today there is no need to delegate such functions even to the level of governors," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Land resources, state assets and finance are the three pillars of any government. But we are carefully, calmly trading towards this [redistribution of powers]."

With regard to the draft, it is assumed that most decisions would henceforth be taken at the local elvel. "This is a right decision. We agreed on this a long time ago. Except for the things that I mentioned," the President said.

Along with this, Aleksandr Lukashenko raised a number of questions for the participants of the meeting: where will these government proposals lead to, whether the state will lose control over the sale of most lucrative assets, whether this will create loopholes for corruption. "We saw this happen in neighboring countries," he said.

In addition, the President asked what innovations the draft proposes in relation to economic entities, what mechanisms it suggests for using idle space of enterprises. "Once we made a decision to encourage use of unfinished objects standing idle from Soviet times. How did the local authorities do on this front ?" the head of state asked.

"The most important thing is whether this will generate some good results?" the Belarusian leader stressed.

The council of experts at the Council of the Republic and the Minsk City Hall have suggested their proposals on the draft.

"You are well aware of my requirements: the legislation should not change too often. When we see that the changes are really overdue, we must make sure that we take everything into account," Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.