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18 Dec 2015

Belarus president baffled by unnecessary import

MINSK, 18 December (BelTA) - The problem of importing the minerals which are abundant in Belarus was high on the agenda of a meeting to discuss the state and prospects of development of raw-material base of the country chaired by President Alexander Lukashenko, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that Belarus spends huge money on the import of the raw materials which it lacks, and it is understandable. "We spend $11 billion on hydrocarbons alone annually. This is the import of goods which ensure stable operation of our energy system and other important economic sectors. However, importing the minerals that we have in excess such as crushed stone, gravel, sand, clay, chalk, gypsum and others is incomprehensible,” the President said.

“More attention should be given to the efforts to promote the rational use of minerals, to build export capabilities, and boost the manufacture of products and services in this field,” added the head of state.

Today’s meeting discussed the ways of reducing the country's dependence on imported raw materials. According to the President, this is not only about energy but also other resources. First of all, the head of state inquired about the steps to replace the import of the resources which are available in Belarus.

The president also inquired what steps the government has taken to build up the export potential of Belarus, and to increase the export of those minerals which are in abundance in the country. The President also considered it necessary to discuss the optimization of the structure of exports of raw materials and finished goods produced from them. According to Alexander Lukashenko, when the world oil prices are falling, it is necessary to think about the structure to ensure the sustainability of the economy of Belarus.

In addition, the meeting reviewed the prospects for intensifying exploration and development of new mineral deposits and their involvement into economic turnover. The participants discussed the ways to solve the problem of exporting subsoil exploration services, to attract investors in the projects to produce natural resources, to assimilate innovative technologies, with a view to promoting the integrated and most profitable use of these resources.

The President stressed that today’s meeting is important from both the economic and political points of view. “It is not just economy. It is also our policy which means the independence of our state,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“Minerals are the riches given to us by nature. We should use them rationally for the benefit of the present and future generations,” the President noted. According to the head of state, even in the context of the current volatility on raw materials markets many countries demonstrate sustainable development supported by the rational use of the natural riches, implementation of high-efficient production and processing technologies. The President emphasized a two-in-one task for the country which is to secure maximum efficiency of the use of national and imported resources and expand the scale and variety of mining operations for the purpose of import-substitution and the reduction of the foreign currency outflow from the country.

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