Working trip to Vitebsk Oblast

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Vitebsk fur factory during his working trip to Vitebsk Oblast on 2 November.

The President, members of the government and other senior officials should show people what was achieved over the past year by 7 November, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. According to him, after the upgrade the Vitebsk fur factory has become an advanced enterprise, a gift to the community ahead of the holiday.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the industry needs enterprises-giants such as, for example, Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Mill. Yet, attention should also be paid to relatively small enterprises.

About $24 million has been invested in the project to upgrade the Vitebsk fur factory. More than 300 jobs have been set up. Once the factory reaches its full production capacity, the number of workers will increase to 500. Marko Company was the investor of the project.

The head of state was briefed that the factory has not reached its design capacity yet. Once all production lines are launched, the output will increase significantly. The President expressed the wish to visit the factory by the end of next year when the company reaches its full capacity.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that some of the loans granted by China to Belarus should be spent on supporting the private sector. “We have a large number of commercial Chinese loans we have yet to spend. Seven billion. There are also cheap loans. Recently I gave instructions to stop focusing on giant companies only. There is a solid private business owner we know. They are not some charlatans. We should help them. They will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in exchange for 20-30 million [U.S. dollars],” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He stressed that the government does not necessary have to spend hundreds of millions or billions of U.S. dollars on building new private enterprises.

Special attention was paid to procurement of raw materials to manufacture fur products. Aleksandr Lukashenko asked how things are in this regard, especially in price terms, and whether the factory needs additional fur rawhides.

The President also recalled the instruction regarding breeding of sheep and manufacturing of sheepskin. “I get the feeling that farmers are underperforming in this regard, particularly in Vitebsk Oblast,” the President said and instructed to look into this matter and report back to him.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was reported on the progress in the implementation of the instruction to develop the leather and fur production industry and on the results of the modernization of the Vitebsk fur factory. He then visited several shops where he got familiar with the technological processes to process sheepskin and rawhides, to manufacture finished products and saw an exhibition of manufactured products.

Touring the enterprise, the President asked the employees of the enterprise about the working conditions, their opinion about Vitebsk-made fur products.

Speaking about the equipment which cost approximately $14 million, the head of state recalled the need to promote import substitution. “This is the direct, efficient and error-free way. For example, there is a tool-making plant but we import tools worth $55 million from abroad,” the President cited an example.

The same is true about raw materials. According to Marko Director General Nikolai Martynov, the use of Belarusian fur in the production process accounts for only about 15%. The country’s companies are still unable to meet the needs of consumers. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to consider ways to set up a new enterprise to process fur or expand the production at one of the existing companies.

The Belarusian head of state was also shown a collection of men’s and women’s outdoor clothes Winter-Autumn 2018-2019.