Working trip to Minsk District

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Belarusian tanneries will be completely modernized within two years while their number will be halved. The plans were in the spotlight during the visit of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko to OAO Minsk Leather Production Association in the town of Gatovo on 9 September.

“In 2015-2016 we will completely modernize and create a competitive, cutting-edge enterprise that will be able to process all the rawhides,” stressed the head of state.

At present the Belarusian tanning industry is represented by three tanneries located in Bobruisk, Grodno, Minsk, and another tannery OAO Kozhevnik. The reform is expected to leave only two companies — in Minsk and Bobruisk — however, even they will operate at 20-25% below their capacity. “You will have to find work for the remaining capacity. If you want, you can go ahead and start manufacturing ready-made products. Selling them is the key. You should think what else you are going to manufacture here,” the President told workers of the Minsk-based tannery.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that prospects of the tanning industry were discussed at the level of the head of state in November 2012. “There were very many drawbacks: we manufactured raw materials, exported a lot, the enterprises were old and their workload was small. The question was whether we were going to make our own products or clothe people in Chinese and Turkish ones,” said the President.

“We decided in favor of making our own products. It means that all the hides made in Belarus have to be processed in the country. We have to use these hides to manufacture ready-made products: apparel, footwear, fancy goods,” noted the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was concerned about the possibility of the modernization of the tanning industry going the way of the woodworking industry. However, the head of state was assured that the modernization of the tanning industry will be completed in 2016.

The President stressed that all the rawhides made in the country have to be processed by Belarusian enterprises. “We will put things right. At least we will process all our rawhides,” said the head of state. He went on saying that more rawhides will be imported in order to keep the enterprise operating at full capacity.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the Minsk-based tannery will not be privatized or sold.

“We cannot lose our own manufacturing,” stressed the President. “Chinese products are good, but we should make our own ones. Moreover, we know how to do it”.

“We should revive our manufacturing industry, clothe and shoe people with our own modern products so that people could be proud of Belarusian footwear,” said the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that footwear manufacturers will be modernized after the tanneries. As a result, modern enterprises to make ready-made products will be created.

The President remarked that a government conference will take place in Vitebsk in October to discuss the state of affairs in the footwear industry and the implementation of projects meant to increase the output and modernize the enterprises.

“In other words, a number of issues have yet to be addressed,” summarized the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was made familiar with the state of affairs of OAO Minsk Leather Production Association, toured the production floor and looked at the exhibition of the products the company makes.

The President also talked to workers of the enterprise.

The head of state noted that he came to the enterprise to verify the fulfillment of the decisions that had been made earlier and examine modernization progress. The President noted the improvement of the company’s financial state. He stressed that salaries of the workers would rise if the trend stayed in place.

Ukrainian events were also mentioned. Belarus is against the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, stated the President. He stressed that Belarus can put efforts only into securing peace in Ukraine.

Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the ongoing information wars, including the ones relevant for the Ukrainian conflict. “At present these are not the kind of wars we saw once. An information war is in progress. Don’t be afraid of information wars and take everything with a grain of salt,” said the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that the situation will stay calm in Belarus. “If the state of affairs in the Belarusian economy is fine, if our people have jobs to do, then there will be peace in the country. We have to live in our own country and pursue peaceful activities”.

OAO Minsk Leather Production Association is one of the largest and most technically advanced tanneries in Belarus. The tannery was designed to process rawhides made in the USSR. It was meant to make 500 million square decimeters of leather and 200 million square decimeters of split leather products per annum. The company offers the entire range of natural leathers for footwear top and lining, for artificial limbs, for making apparel, furniture, and fancy goods. Apart from manufacturing leather products the company generates heat energy and some of it is sold to outside consumers. For the sake of increasing its workload the company makes goods on commission.

The company has already commissioned nine units of new equipment. There are plans to use modernization to increase the output of leather products with a high added value and satisfy up to 50% of the demand of Belarusian footwear manufacturers for leather.