Working trip to Vetka District of Gomel Oblast

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko paid a working viist to Vetka District, Gomel Oblast on 25 July.

The head of the state got familiar with the progress in the social and economic development of Gomel Oblast and Vetka District, the development prospects of the Belorusneft-Osobino company.

Gomel Oblast is on track to meet five out of seven key indicators of social and economic development. The region is lagging behind the gross regional product target. The GRP increased by 0.5% in H1 while the target was 1.5%. The situation with contaminated oil and also the problems on the Belarusian section of the Druzhba oil pipeline were among the reasons. The region plans to accelerate and meet the development targets by the end of the year. Better performance of Gomselmash is expected to contribute to the effort.

With regard to the situation in Vetka District, the agricultural sector is underperforming, falling short of last year’s indices. Local authorities see livestock loss as one of the reasons. The President, however, is convinced that the problem is more complex and livestock loss is the result not the cause. It can be addressed through strict technology compliance, timely forage harvest.

The President said to take the problem of livestock loss under strict control. “I will say it again: the government will be held responsible for livestock loss. Some 85,000 head, I think, was lost last year. Can you imagine how much meat that would have been,” the President said. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the General Prosecutor’s Office to keep a close eye on the issue. “This is unacceptable. Poor-quality fodder or other excuses. This is sheer complacency. Sort this out,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also inquired about the prospects for development of the Belorusneft-Osobino company. It is one of the major GDP-generating companies in Grodno Oblast in the production of poultry, grain and rapeseed. It operates a full production cycle. Aleksandr Lukashenko got acquainted with the work of one of its production facilities in Vetka District. The company has two more facilities, the main of which is located in Buda-Koshelevo District.  

During his visit to a poultry farm of Belorusneft-Osobino company Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to work out a development strategy for the Belarusian agricultural machinery company Gomselmash as he visited the manufacturing workshop Novoselki of the poultry farm at the Belorusneft-Osobino company.

“As for Gomselmash, I instruct Turchin [First Deputy Prime Minister] to get involved and sort things out. Gomselmash has always been important for the country. Some 20-25 years ago they tried to persuade me that we did not need harvesters and that Gomselmash needed to be sold. Today we can see that this is a good school. Today we will see a new harvester developed within the past year or two. This is a good team of scientists, designers. We cannot destroy this school. We need this equipment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

According to the President, it is necessary to secure the company’s profitable work as soon as possible: “We need Gomselmash back in the black next year.”

First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Turchin told the head of state that the company is going through a financial audit and is gradually reducing its backlogs. Different concepts for Gomselmash development are under consideration. “We will need to discuss the development strategy with you later,” he added.

“No problem. Let’s discuss it. I have already told you that this company needs young people in its management,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Acting Gomel Oblast Governor, First Vice Governor Gennady Solovei briefed the President that 2,000 large families will be provided with new homes in 2019. The total number of large families in Gomel Oblast is about 5,700-5,800. “We will continue working on this matter as we need to provide such families with new homes. We are also mulling over housing construction projects in rural areas,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested building more housing for large families in small towns and agro-towns. According to the head of state, small towns provide a better living environment for large families. “This benefits the state and children," he said.

The head of the state explained that this housing policy will contribute to the distribution of workforce across the country. “Large families have three to five children. Some even more,” he added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also got familiar with the ongoing harvest campaign in Vetka District at the example of the Raduga-Agro farm. The development prospects of the company were also discussed during a visit to the Raduga-Agro farm where the President met with Gomselmash Director General Aleksandr Novikov.

“The company staff is ready to work. The only issue is floating assets,” the Gomselmash head said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the government can provide some assistance to the company. “If you sell some hundred harvesters tomorrow and contribute something to the bank or to the budget, we will provide you with funds. We will not let anyone destroy Gomselmash. Gomselmash, MAZ, BelAZ, Amkodor, and other companies, including private firms, are all Belarusian major brands. They must produce results,” he said.

In the field the President got acquainted with the progress in the harvest and with the new gas-fueled tracked and semi-tracked harvester by Gomselmash. The head of state talked to the machine operators and asked about advantages and disadvantages of the new machine. Aleksandr Lukashenko was told that it does not yield in terms of technical characteristics and power capacities to regular machines of the same environmental class. Yet it is more expensive, by about 30%.

The President asked whether it is possible to reduce production costs. The company is working on this, his interlocutors said. More so, when the harvester goes into mass production, the price will definitely go down.

Aleksandr Lukashenko saw the new harvester back in August of last year as he visited Gomselmash. This machine is slightly more expensive in comparison with traditional analogues but allows saving on fuel costs, on average by half. Designers believe that the new harvester will find its customers in the Russian market. In addition, it is environmentally friendlier.

Back then Aleksandr Lukashenko took interest in the new farm machine and asked to make several harvesters by the following harvest campaign to test them in the field.

The head of state visited the Vetka Children's and Youth Sport School to see the infrastructure of its swimming pools commissioned in May 2018. Aleksandr Lukashenko was also briefed on the delivery of healthcare to the people living in the Chernobyl-affected regions.

After visiting Vetka, the head of state looked at harvesting operations from the air. The President's helicopter flew over the areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster. The situation was seen very well from the air. After that, the President headed for the country’s eastern regions up to Vitebsk Oblast.

It noted that the inspection was the logical continuation of the session to discuss harvesting that took place two days before. On 25 July Aleksandr Lukashenko had a great opportunity to see the harvesting situation first hand in three regions of the country.