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30 Dec 2013

Lukashenko wants optimization in healthcare and education in 2014

VOLOZHIN DISTRICT, 30 December (BelTA) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered to optimize the healthcare and education systems in 2014. The head of state gave this instruction as he visited children’s medical rehabilitation center Praleska in Rakov agrotown, Volozhin District, on 30 December, BelTA has learnt.

The Belarusian President asked whether such centers are in demand in Belarus. Healthcare Minister Vasily Zharko answered that the center has all the necessary facilities for rehabilitation and treatment, and such centers are really needed. The physical infrastructure of the center has been recently renovated.

“Of course, we will not spare anything for children, but there should not be any bells and whistles. The state cannot bear an additional burden. If rehabilitation and recovery are needed, we will certainly do it. However, there should not be needless things in healthcare or education,” the head of state said.

Speaking about social spending, Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the introduction of the so-called transport tax. “When they are asked to help, they start nagging: people who bought a Mercedes for $100,000 do not want to pay taxes (about $70) to improve roads,” the Belarusian President said.

“We need to understand that this requires huge money,” the President said. He noted that the renovation of the children’s center Praleska alone cost about Br110 billion. “We will do what we have to do. All these things should be optimized next year. No matter how hard it will be. Children will get what they need. Children are a priority. Other things come next,” the Belarusian leader said.

Alexander Lukashenko deems it necessary to conduct staff optimization because of a rather big personnel-to-patients ratio. The President noted that the Palace of Independence, for example, is serviced by not more than ten people. “We will start optimization in healthcare and education from you. We need to increase the workload on people and give them a decent salary, otherwise they will quit and move to Russia or elsewhere,” the head of state said addressing Minsk Oblast Governor Semyon Shapiro.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, heads of healthcare institutions should be allowed to keep as many employees as needed, while the gross payroll should remain the same. “You can work on your own if you want, but the work should be efficient. Here is your money, divide it. In this case they will not take this money for granted and complain,” the Belarusian leader said.

Addressing the officials, Alexander Lukashenko urged them not to wait for additional regulations, but take action instead: “The first quarter of the year will pass and we will see”.

Vasily Zharko noted that the number of employees at healthcare institutions was reduced by 1,400 people in 2013. Those were mostly engineering and HR services, accountants and economists.

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