Working trip to Gomel

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko paid a working trip to Gomel on 10 August. Special attention was drawn to healthcare, industrial, social and economic development of the region.

The head of state visited the Gomel Oblast Children Clinical Hospital where he inspected the results of its reconstruction, the organizational of work in the healthcare institution, talked to the hospital personnel and parents of little patients.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was assured that the hospital has sufficient potential to provide quality services not only to Gomel residents but to the entire oblast. “Giving optimal service to all the kids is what matters. We will not pinch pennies from kids,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The President gave instructions to expedite the resolution of a number of organizational issues and told the Gomel Oblast administration to keep an eye on them. The staffing of the healthcare institution with medics was mentioned. The healthcare institution needs to hire people taking into account the availability of modern equipment and technologies. Medical personnel need to live up to higher standards, too. “We have to be frugal with money and spend it where it is necessary – on kids,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also gave instructions to more promptly deal with several shortcomings regarding the hospital’s physical infrastructure. The hospital still lacks some modern equipment. “It has to be a superb hospital and the equipment should be on par,” he said.

“A true palace. I cannot describe it otherwise. Cutting-edge technologies, a magnificent hospital,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that similar healthcare institutions had been built in every oblast. This hospital was initially supposed to be built outside the city’s limits. However, Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to reconstruct and expand the existing institution inside the oblast capital. “Now we can see a beautiful city block with its own garden here,” he said.

“We don’t mind the expense because it is for our children. I am impressed by what they do here [by offering advanced healthcare services]. And it is not the country’s top healthcare institution. It is an oblast capital one,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The head of state also drew attention to the need to offer high-quality medical services bearing in mind modern ecological challenges on top of the Chernobyl problems. “Particularly in Europe, in Russia, Ukraine, and so on. The god takes care of us thanks to the ‘dictatorship’ and authoritarianism we are criticized for. But the environmental situation is getting worse. Not all kids are born without pathologies,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also visited OAO Gomselmash where he got familiar with the state and prospects of the company’s development, efforts of its engineering design division to create new high-performance grain and forage harvesters. The head of state will be informed about the fulfillment of instructions to develop the domestic harvester engineering industry.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that OAO Gomselmash can reach new heights. “Well done, Gomselmash has a future. We will definitely keep the enterprise running. I am confident we will raise it to new heights if only you do your jobs,” he said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, for a long time he had wanted to visit Gomselmash and see how previous commitments were being taken care of, particularly those of the last two-three years. “Back then you asked for some aid. You were given aid,” the President reminded.

The promise of the company’s product engineers to create a super harvester was another reason for the visit. After the tour of Gomselmash Aleksandr Lukashenko intends to see these harvesters at work in the field in the next few days.

The state of Gomselmash and prospects of its development were also mentioned during Aleksandr Lukashenko’s visit. The head of state saw the products the company makes. The product range has been greatly expanded in the last ten years. The latest products and prototypes were also on display. Gomselmash Director General Alexander Kamko presented detailed information about the company’s financial and economic performance, including the investment program, loan debts, manufacturing plans, and the expansion of export sales geography. It was noted that the import substitution effect of Belarus-made harvesters exceeded $2.2 billion in 2010-2017.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “You want to modernize the enterprise, invest in manufacturing. Loans are available. But you need government guarantees. We will talk about it. Most likely we will back you up but with certain commitments.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that high quality of products is the key condition for the successful operation of an enterprise: “Quality of products – doing your job honestly – is a number one priority. I want executives and blue-collar workers to remember it. If you want to compete and win in the face of unfair competition, you should deliver quality products. You should make your best.”

“You make rather good harvesters and other machines but the quality needs to be better than that of German and American products. Then we will freely compete with them,” the head of state was convinced. “We cannot say all the time that our products are cheaper. We should sell them at higher prices, too, in order to raise salaries, to upgrade enterprises, invest in manufacturing instead of taking expensive bank loans or begging for some subsidies.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the state has no intention of abandoning Gomselmash and similar large enterprises. “You may have heard a lot of idle talk claiming that it is high time the giant companies were split into pieces and sold off. We are not going to axe them or sell them. It is our nation’s legacy. Not only this generation’s. We will do our best to preserve and reinforce these enterprises,” said the President.