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31 Aug 2018

Belarusian ailing companies encouraged to explore import substitution opportunities

MINSK, 31 August (BelTA) – Ailing companies should explore import substitution opportunities. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he made a number of personnel decisions on 31 August, BelTA has learned.

“I’ve just got back and they are telling me already that holding companies and something else will be established in Orsha. In other words, they want to mix unmatchable things. Don’t waste your time with these holding companies. You will not be able to hide anything like that. If an enterprise is ailing, if it needs to be revived, pay more attention to import substitution,” stressed the president.

“There are good examples. Take a look at Alexander Shakutin [and his holding company SALEO, which specializes in making hydraulics]. We’ve always had problems with hydraulics. He went for it and now we have rather good hydraulic products one way or another. And it is a huge chunk of import substitution,” noted the Belarusian leader.

The head of state also spoke about import substitution using the Orsha tool-making plant as an example. He remarked that virtually all large Belarusian mechanical engineering companies such as BelAZ, MAZ, and MTZ have their own tool-making divisions. “Let’s revive a large plant. It will make tools for everyone,” noted Alexander Lukashenko.

“So, these [ailing] enterprises should explore import substitution opportunities so that we wouldn’t have to import all the components but could make as many as possible domestically,” said the head of state. “We are happy that we have MTZ tractors of our own. But let’s take a look at the share of locally made components in these tractors… Well, we will always import metal. But what about the rest?”

Alexander Lukashenko also believes that enterprises are better off getting modernized and developing import substitution business using the existing assets instead of changing their core business completely. “Their workers know their trade. It is better to develop these products because there are people and traditions behind them. Modernizing such enterprises is easier than switching to another line of work altogether. Bear it in mind,” said the head of state.

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