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10 Sep 2019

Belarus president outlines new stance on state support for troubled enterprises

Belarus president outlines new stance on state support for troubled enterprises

MINSK, 10 September (BelTA) – While hearing out a report from Minsk Oblast Governor Anatoly Isachenko on 10 September, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko publicly declared his stance on the possibility of providing state support to various troubled enterprises, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “There is one principle: I am ready to hear about complicated problems – they need to be solved, there are always plenty of them in Belarus and other countries – but their resolution should not be delayed for an indefinite period of time if we talk about state support and assistance.” He explained that sometimes they suggest giving respites to enterprises or installment plans that span many years.

“Second, you will have to tell me at whose expense we are going to support manufacturers of hydraulic amplifiers [OAO Borisov Plant Avtogydrousilitel] and other ones. They’ve asked me for support so many times. Even their directors are no longer with us, may they rest in peace. Yet they still kept asking me,” the president noted. “I warned them back then and can warn them again: you should primarily focus on resolving personnel problems. Because once we replace the top executive of an enterprise, we see some upsurge of activity at the enterprise. Then the new executive relaxes over the course of ten years and does little while we keep giving him respites, installment plans, and budget infusions.”

“It shouldn’t happen like that. This is why the principle of our conversation should be based on this: if there is a problem, everyone has to help resolve it. Efforts should be exercised starting with the workforce of any enterprise – where problems are,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

The head of state noted he had in advance examined the matters the oblast governor had brought to his attention. “It seems to me that you’ve tried to resolve complicated issues – economic ones, particularly at industrial enterprises – with the government’s help. But the government follows a strict policy (the same applies to oblast governors): we cannot carry enterprises all the time and provide them state support all the time. First, without guarantees, second, without prospects. Third, respites, installment plans, credits, and so on go as far as 2035,” the Belarusian leader pointed out.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that his stance on the matter is well-known. It is necessary to clearly raise issues if there is a need for it: “Do it like men if there is a problem. I will say whether we are going to resolve it or not. If we will, at whose expense. If money has to be lent for a year or two, we can easily do it. But for a year or two. God forbid if someone fails to pay off the debt. It would be terrible.”

“The matters that have been raised involve failures to honor commitments. They were granted support and guarantees were issued. Sometime later they asked for support once again, guarantees were mentioned as well. Why did they fail to honor commitments like, for instance, you did in matters of agriculture? Grain from the reserves was lent last year. It has been repaid. I can see I am dealing with a decent person. If the person needs to borrow something, we will go right ahead. But payment in kind or in money without getting it back will not be allowed,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also asked Anatoly Isachenko what he was concerned about in manufacturing sector and agriculture. The governor said: “In agriculture everything proceeds on schedule, there are no concerns. We honor all the commitments we’ve undertaken. Thanks for the decree you’ve signed on [the holding company] Myasomolprom. We also honor commitments in that regard. It has allowed agriculture to work more steadily from the financial point of view.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out: “I am ready to help and support in this manner. If we help and commitments get honored, if upsurge is registered, then any enterprise can get help like that. But no help for the abyss.”

After the meeting Anatoly Isachenko told media that the head of state had been informed about results of Minsk Oblast’s development in January-July 2019 and this year’s projections. “Matters were raised concerning education, healthcare, and civil engineering. Approaches to resolving these issues were outlined – what we intend to do and at the expense of which resources. Primarily our sources. The president backed these approaches. We have to work and move on now,” the Minsk Oblast governor noted.

As for state support, the governor specified that they had not talked about some irrecoverable aid or financing from the central state budget. “We’ve sketched out the approaches that are needed to keep these enterprises working,” Anatoly Isachenko said.

The governor explained that on the whole all the Minsk Oblast performance targets were hit in January-July 2019. “We also expect this year’s targets to be hit. Harvesting is in progress and also proceeds on schedule. There are no special situations that require excessive efforts. Everything proceeds routinely,” the head of the Minsk Oblast administration said.

Anatoly Isachenko drew attention to the development of the civil engineering industry in Minsk Oblast: “30% of the new homes built in Belarus are built in Minsk Oblast. Certain approaches were outlined: real estate developers, which have their own infrastructure (machines, construction equipment, and workforce), should be prioritized.”

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