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9 Feb 2016

Lukashenko wants fair trade system in Belarus

MINSK, 9 February (BelTA) – It is essential to create an honest and transparent system of trade in Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko said as he heard out a report of Trade Minister Vladimir Koltovich on 9 February, BelTA has learned.

“I am going to pay much more attention to the Trade Ministry like to no any other ministry,” the head of state said. “What are the main areas of focus for me? I do not navigate by any copybook maxims, economic and scientific rationale, although they are very important. What is most important is that our people want honesty and justice.”

The President said that in the Soviet Union trade was controlled by the government. “Trade was the face of the state. It remains so today because people do some shopping every day. When the economic system was ruined, when we started developing the so-called market economy, we decided that, in fact, we did not need trade as such: we had enterprises, and trade was expected run based on demand and supply,” Alexander Lukashenko remarked.

In his words, the outcome was as follows: trade started dictating terms to manufacturers on the one hand and charging extra from consumers on the other. “Just look: people working in the trade system are the richest today. I am not against entrepreneurs; I am not against the elements of the trade system we have now. But I am absolutely against unearned money,” the President stressed.

“I believe that money belongs, first of all, to those who manufacture products. Trade is entitled to a profit margin, but it should not charge rip-off prices. I would like to say that whatever surveys we conduct, people always say that they are most of all concerned about price growth. The growth of prices is the biggest concern,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The President noted that he knows the trade system very well and does not approve of the current trends. “We should create the system in Belarus and prove that trade can be quite honest. It was not honest in the Soviet Union where it was under strict control. It will not be easy today either. But we must do it, it is a priority. You should create this system in the country,” the head of state demanded.

Addressing the trade minister, Alexander Lukashenko emphasized: “No matter what you are told, you will be directly accountable to me and to our people. Everything we are doing today should be aimed to address the concerns of people. There should be no populism. I have always said openly that we need to create jobs for people and then make them accountable for the work they do. If we do not give anything to people and, first of all, jobs, what do we demand from them? We will be the ones to blame for the outcome.”

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