Visit to the woodworking company Ivatsevichdrev in Ivatsevichi District, Brest Oblast

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko criticized the progress in the modernization of Belarusian woodworking enterprises during his working trip to Ivatsevichi District, Brest Oblast.

    “I will examine all the enterprises. You have indeed failed this task due to various reasons, subjective ones mostly. And we have indeed postponed deadlines three or four times. [The Belarusian state-run timber industry concern] Bellesbumprom is a mess. Things must not be done this way. I will have yet to think how I will deal with you,” the head of state stressed.

    “If builders do not work well, the government has to deal with the situation together with the entire civil engineering industry,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Do not tell me stories and do not plead with me. Get down to work”.

    “Keep in mind that I keep an eye on all the problems and my instructions. Next year I will review all of them personally. It is our first pep talk. I will not talk to you later on. If I see something out of order, you had better pack up and leave right away. Keep in mind that you will not be employed by some private company. If you are a builder, you will have to mix cement. If you know how to make paper, you will operate a machine tool,” the President stressed.

    “Therefore, I advise you to get down to business and secure these volumes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko urged.

    The head of state drew attention to the improper storage of expensive equipment that had been bought before manufacturing premises were commissioned. “God forbid that I will see you keeping equipment in the open,” he said.

    In Ivatsevichi Aleksandr Lukashenko visited Ivatsevichdrev Comapany which implemented an investment project to set up a new facility to manufacture 250,000 cubic meters of flake boards and laminated boards per annum. This investment project will allow exporting the merchandise and raising proceeds from sales. Nearly €158 million has been spent on setting up the new production facility, including bank loans, proprietary savings of the enterprises, and state budget appropriations.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko was interested in the technological process and took a tour of the company premises. The possibility of starting furniture production at Ivatsevichdrev was discussed. The furniture production division should use the merchandise the company manufactures now. There are plans to get the Ruzhany-based factory involved in the project. Once modernized, the factory will manufacture several furniture components. The new furniture-making division may be commissioned as early as in two years.

    Woodworking products are popular on foreign markets. However, competition becomes more intense every year. Similar facilities are being set up in Russia. Therefore, it is important to penetrate markets as soon as possible and use the competitive edge.

    Apart from OOO Ivatsevichdrev investment projects and modernization are in progress at eight Bellesbumprom enterprises. Those are Borisovdrev, Vitebskdrev, Gomeldrev, Mostovdrev, Rechitsadrev, Mogilevdrev, FanDok, and Mozyr DOK. The head of state was told that the reasons behind the delays in implementing the investment projects were mainly the same. The companies took about 1.5-2 years to choose the seller and the technologies they need. After that they tacked the problem of finance, including the acquisition of foreign credit lines and government guarantees. Construction was delayed due to various reasons. “How can a company head, a minister work without knowing which manufacturer is the world’s best? How can you work like that?” the President was indignant. “You must know all the best and up-to-date things. Do not tell me stories. Slackness and the lack of discipline are to blame”.

    “We have to diversify the economy. At present we have to import raw materials from foreigners while we should use our own raw materials. We have a lot of timber. This is why we are modernizing these enterprises,” the President said.

    “I am extremely dissatisfied with the government performance in modernizing the woodworking enterprises and advice putting old enterprises into order,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    On the way to the company the head of state viewed the old premises of OAO Ivatsevichdrev from the helicopter. Even from above the President saw numerous examples of mismanagement. Therefore, after visiting the new shop floor he decided to change his route and headed for the old factory where he saw a terrible mess in many manufacturing facilities and utility rooms. Industrial waste and garbage were everywhere, glass was broken in some rooms, basic safety rules were not observed.

    The employees of the company asked the President what will happen to their factory. Aleksandr Lukashenko answered: “I can promise you that there will not be a factory like that anymore, a factory that turned into a garbage dump in some places. You will do it, maybe with a new director. The matter should be discussed by the government tomorrow. Vladimir Shulga should be sent here to put it in order. The incumbent director [Boris Mikhnyuk] will be fired tomorrow, because it is not the way people should work.”

    “Here is the principle: if my subordinates cannot see certain things until I point them out, they should not be here. We will start from your director and the minister [Chairman of Bellesbumprom Concern],” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.

    The head of state noted that the partial blame for the mess goes to the company’s employees: “You are also to blame, you will fix it. Otherwise, I will close the factory down. I do not want the same situation as happened in Pinsk, where the explosion in a shop floor killed three to four dozen people. And they will blame me for that. I will not let it happen again. You have a very dangerous situation here - diesel oil is put next to some other oil and sawdust, while sawdust burns like gunpowder. And you have such a mess in your utility rooms…”

    “Therefore, you are to blame for it, first of all. The director is also responsible for that. Every day he or his deputies, the chief engineer should tour the premises and check. It is his job. I used to be a director and I know: there will not be any order until a director comes, checks and sends someone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

    One of young employees of the company asked the President about state support for housing construction. Aleksandr Lukashenko explained that high interest rates on housing loans are attributed to high interest rates on deposits. There is also a waiting list of people who are entitled to preferential terms on housing loans. Subsidized interest rates are an additional burden on the budget. “It means we should increase taxes. This is the problem. Indeed, there were many easy and cheap loans in the past. They led us to the devaluation of the national currency. I do not want it to happen again,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The President noted that the state will keep helping certain groups of people to buy an apartment, especially families with many children. “If we have more money we will provide more subsidies for families with three and more children. This is the number one priority,” the head of state said.

    The local authorities reported that the people placed on the preferential waiting list in Ivatsevichi District usually get an apartment within two or three years.

    Talking about the overall living standards of Belarusian residents, Aleksandr Lukashenko focused on the development of export-oriented companies that use local raw materials. “They need to earn, produce and export more,” he said.