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24 Jan 2017

Belarus president cracks down on grey schemes for exporting round timber

MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) – It is necessary to eradicate grey schemes used to export timber. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he heard out a report on the export of round timber on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “The chairman of the State Control Committee is in charge of overseeing timber industry. He would like me to answer when the grey schemes used to export timber from Belarus will be reliably stopped. Instead I should ask you how long the grey schemes used to export unedged timber are going to be tolerated?”

“You have told me that commercial entities buy a cubic meter of soft-textured wood on the home market for €30, saw off the ends of the logs, process the logs right there in the forest, and export what is in essence raw material under the guise of some poles and stakes,” noted the President.

The head of state warned that those, who allow such things to happen, will be made answerable.

The President was told that some moneymakers had been able to earn millions of U.S. dollars thanks to such manipulations. “Whose pockets have been filled? Why is the money still in their pockets instead of the state budget in triple or tenfold amounts?” wondered Alexander Lukashenko.

“If such cases happen, I would like us to end the discussion today. The state budget has to get everything it should get. Everything should be done properly and honestly,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

After the government conference Belarusian Forestry Minister Mikhail Amelyanovich told media that the government had already taken measures to prevent the export of sawn timber under the guise of stakes and poles. “A government resolution has been passed to introduce licensing for these products,” he said.

Mikhail Amelyanovich explained that the government resolution was adopted in December 2016 and will come into force on 1 February 2017.

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