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8 Dec 2017

Lukashenko promises new measures to combat alcohol abuse

Lukashenko promises new measures to combat alcohol abuseMINSK, 8 December (BelTA) – We will take new measures to combat alcohol abuse but I am sure that we will not solve the problem by imposing bans only, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said as he visited OAO Kamvol in Minsk on 8 December, BelTA has learned.

“I see the debates in the media. Some urge to ban, to prohibit sales, to punish. Well, if you want to line up the pickets of crooks who will sell alcohol under the counter, then we may do it. But the history shows that bans do not yield the results,” he said.

The president believes that more attention should be paid to the promotion of healthy lifestyle and active way of life at all levels, from the family to the state. “We have created the ideal conditions for this. We have built many sports facilities. Today we invest good money in coaches,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

“After the New Year we will revisit this issue and we will proceed within our capabilities. We cannot overdo here. Proposals, for example, have been made to close nine out of ten liquor stores. I do not think it is a good idea. But I support the proposal to close those that are located near schools,” the president said.

“You know my position on the matter. I am not a drinker. This is my position, my belief. People live according to their ideas about the life,” the head of state said.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, some people say that the problem with smoking and drinking is directly related to the wish of the government to replenish the budget. “Only true enemies to the Belarusian state can say that. Indeed, excises on alcohol and tobacco mean big taxes. We will get $0.5 billion to the budget from tobacco excises this year. The sum equals the amount of five companies equal your factory. But if we reduce these excises or cut on the production of alcohol, we will see huge imports of cheap alcohol from Russia, Ukraine, and the west here. We will have neither excises, nor fewer drinking people. Any state introduces excises to get taxes,” the head of state stressed.

“We need to find a well-balanced solution. I would like to reiterate, however, that everything depends on you. We will take a careful approach to solving this problem. There were examples of hasty decisions in the past. They decided to destroy vineyards once. Today, when I meet with the presidents of the Caucasian countries, Ukraine, I hear from them that they are doing their best to restore what once was destroyed. We need to solve this matter without haste, step by step,” the Belarusian leader said.

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