Visit to Baranovichi Cotton Production Association

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It is necessary for Belarusian enterprises to pay close attention to efforts to reduce prime cost and increase export. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he visited OAO Baranovichi Cotton Production Amalgamation (Blakit trademark) as part of the working trip to Brest Oblast on 27 August.

Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions for the company to reduce prime costs by 7-10%. “Put some effort into the prime costs. According to my calculations, you have to reduce the prime costs by another 7-10%,” he said.

“You have to sell more abroad without losing the domestic market,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko. He reminded that the government had been set rigid tasks concerning the matter.

“We should not import what we make on our own,” said the head of state. He went on saying that the share of import should be at most 10% in order to encourage competition.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the Baranovichi company has always enjoyed state support. The state provided the assistance with the modernization of the company, the progress in which the head of state reviewed today. One of the issues that was raised during the visit of the President to the company was the payment of the loans which were taken to carry out the modernization program. The head of state promised to consider extending the loan repayment period.

Aleksandr Lukashenko saw the samples of products made in Baranovichi. The association comprises a spinning facility, weaving and finishing factories and the sewing factory Blakit.

The President also talked to the workers of the enterprise.

The President stressed that the current global situation is difficult: bubbles created in the world economy are starting blowing out, destroying stock markets and devaluating national currencies. “It is a financial war. It is an economic war where we do not need to win. We are not going to defeat anybody. What we need is to keep what is ours and hold out,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “We need to hold on to get through this period,” he added.

The President believes that the situation will begin to improve in 2016.

"I am sure we will start getting out of this situation next year, although the economic meltdown in Belarus was not as bad as in other countries,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. He noted that the country is having problems but not a crisis.

"Our closest partner, Kazakhstan, has devalued its currency for the third time in the past two years. And this is the country that is sitting on mineral resources. You also see what is happening in Russia: over the past two years the currency has weakened badly and it would seem it would continue falling. Fortunately some stabilization has started,” said the head of state.

In his words, today the countries are concerned more about “staying afloat keeping their manufacturing facilities working during this period.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko is confident that the current problems will be settled, “such situation will not last forever.”

The head of state said: “We are not going to artificially restrain the exchange rate of the national currency against other currencies. And we are not doing it right now. If we try to restrain it in an attempt to keep down inflation and help someone (times are different now), we will be forced once again to devalue the national currency by 30% in one go.” This is why the floating exchange rate policy is pursued in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

“What Kazakhstan and Russia have done just now we did earlier to avoid burning through the gold and foreign exchange reserves. It is good that gold prices are on the rise since we have about 30 tonnes of gold or so,” noted the President. “This is why we stick to the floating rate policy to go through these difficult times.”

Yet Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that prices should not be suppressed in this situation. “We keep an eye on prices. If we try to keep them down, the market supply will drop.”

“Yes, there is some volatility, some movement,” noted the President. “I swear to you that we are doing nothing to restrain or bolster or weaken the national currency. If more foreign currency is available, the exchange rate will be lower. If the demand is high, then foreign currency will be in short supply, you know what will happen.” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that bearing this in mind he urges to export more for the sake of increasing the flow of foreign currency into the country.

Let us support our domestic producer, the Belarusian President said. “Let us try to use our domestic products and spend our vacations in Belarus these years. Let us keep the foreign currency inside the country,” said the head of state.

The issue of increasing the retirement age is not up for discussion in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We have not raised the issue. I once said that the retirement age in Belarus should have been increased long ago,” said the head of state.

According to the President, pensions are not high in Belarus due to an uneven correlation between the people in jobs and in retirement.

“You know my opinion on the issue. But you do not want the retirement age to be raised,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.