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31 Jul 2020

Prime minister: Wellbeing of Belarusian towns depends on economic health of enterprises

Prime minister: Wellbeing of Belarusian towns depends on economic health of enterprises
Roman Golovchenko

BEREZOVKA, 31 July (BelTA) – The wellbeing of towns like Berezovka depends on the economic health of town-forming enterprises. Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko made the statement as he visited OAO Neman Glassworks on 31 July, BelTA has learned.

During the working trip to Lida District the prime minister was made familiar with the performance of the enterprise and its economic situation. Roman Golovchenko said: “It is not surprising that more attention is being paid to the enterprise: we try to keep an eye on the development of the entire country. The health and wellbeing of towns like Berezovka depends on the economic health of the enterprise. If there are jobs, sales, and salaries here, then the town will live,” he noted. The prime minister stressed that the enterprise had gone through various periods in its history. Credit resources have been used for modernization, however, not all the decisions made by the enterprise were effective, the burden of the debts became unbearable at some point.

“In a regular situation there would be one outcome – reorganization and bankruptcy. But it is important to keep the enterprise and the team. This is why in spring the country’s leadership implemented unprecedented support measures: it was possible to start working with a clean slate. Salaries and taxes are paid on time now. How the enterprise will develop in the future depends only on the management, on how manufacturing and sales are handled, and on the team, on the responsible attitude of every worker to work,” Roman Golovchenko told Neman Glassworks employees.

The conversation proceeded in the format of an open dialogue. The workers raised a number of issues they were concerned about, including housing construction and support for young families and large ones. Roman Golovchenko noted that in 2020 Br1 billion will be spent on these goals – subsidies, preferential-rate loans, construction of utility lines. There are plans to build about 4 million m2 of housing, including a quarter of it with state support.

One of the questions focused on the opening of a branch of the Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno in Lida. The oblast administration is keeping an eye on the matter, possible solutions are being worked out together with the Education Ministry.

The modernization of the pension system was also mentioned during the meeting, including how people can be encouraged to contribute more to their pension fund. The prime minister noted that all the decisions will be made after thorough and balanced analysis to avoid worsening the conditions for the people.

During the meeting Roman Golovchenko mentioned how the problems previously identified by residents of Berezovka were being addressed. For instance, the town lacks a number of medical specialists. It was decided that one of the local specialists will be retrained as an endocrinologist. A cardiologist will travel to the town from time to time for consultations as well. A CT scanner in the Lida District Central Hospital will be commissioned soon. A building wing is being built for another CT scanner.

Progress in fulfilling the head of state’s instructions on increasing the production of insulation materials and increasing profit margins was reviewed during Roman Golovchenko’s meeting with the Neman Glassworks management.

Roman Golovchenko said: “I am convinced that everything will be good at the enterprise. Without the pandemic the results would be even more tangible. The glass factory is known for its unique products, the handmade products that everyone wants so much. It is possible we don’t know how to sell them yet and they don’t give the profits to employ a large number of workers. This is why as part of production diversification it has been decided to start making glass wool, which is successfully exported to the European Union among other places.” He stressed that the economic advisability of making glass wool is what matters. The increase in glass production as part of import substitution is also being discussed. For instance, small glass jars to sell baby food in are imported. Decisions on these changes and other ones will be made only bearing in mind economic considerations.

The public joint-stock company (OAO) Neman Glassworks is one of the oldest enterprises in Belarus. It was established in 1883. Back then it was a small enterprise with one glass-melting furnace and 20 workers. At present it is the town-forming enterprise with the average number of workers at about 1,400. Neman Glassworks specializes in making glass products for consumer purposes and in making fiber glass. The company offers over 5,000 glass and crystal product titles. Neman Glassworks uses two glass-melting furnaces to make crystal glass and colorless glass and another furnace to make fiber glass.

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