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4 Dec 2019

Lukashenko calls for promoting entire Minsk Oblast, not only ‘golden area’ near Minsk

Lukashenko calls for promoting entire Minsk Oblast, not only ‘golden area’ near Minsk

MINSK, 4 December (BelTA) – It is necessary to revitalize the regional economy and start new businesses all over Minsk Oblast. This will ensure even development of all districts of the region, not only ‘the golden area’ between the first and second Minsk ring roads, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Minsk Oblast authorities on 4 December, BelTA has learned.

The head of state admitted his special attitude to Minsk Oblast, the country’s most populous region. “One of the most important criteria of assessing a region’s success is population number. Minsk Oblast is experiencing a population growth, which drags up (though insignificantly) the number of workforce. There are nearly 700,000 of them today. Minsk Oblast compares very favorably to other regions. This deserves the highest praise,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The gross regional product of Minsk Oblast grows 4.5%, faster than in any other region of the country. Over two five-year periods, the region’s economy expanded by nearly 37%, while the country’s average stood at about 10%. “In fact, Minsk Oblast is the country’s only region that succeeded in fulfilling my instruction on economic growth rate (it should outpace the global average). Minsk Oblast boasts a well-developed manufacturing industry and accounts for a quarter of agricultural production and a fifth of export and investment. This all attests to the great potential of the region,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The head of state emphasized that the region does not have any critical problems. “However this makes it even more difficult for the new governor. You are fully aware of my demands – it is unacceptable to be satisfied with what you already have and to make no further effort. Otherwise, you will be outpaced, outperformed and sidelined. It means that the new administration will have to take the region to a higher level of growth. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to come to grips with the factors impeding the region’s development,” he emphasized.

First of all, the new governor should look into the decreasing number of economic entities and the situation on the labor market where separations outnumbered hires by more than 8,000. The number of new jobs shrank 18% over 2018. “Look into the reasons. Is it a coincidence or a trend? Pay attention to the quality of economic entities that make up the regional economy,” the head of state said.

“On the one hand, the region greatly depends on the situation on the commodity market, first of all, on the market of potash fertilizers, as well as the market of investment goods, like dump trucks. However, market fluctuations affect just a couple of companies. On the other hand, nearly half of the region’s organizations are all kinds of go-betweens representing wholesale and retail trade, warehousing and delivery services. Those who are in between is your target group. These are small companies that should be supported in the first place. This is the only way to reduce dependence of the gross regional product and the budget on the performance of two dozen companies that are the mainstay of the regional economy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He is convinced that the region came to a halt while diversifying its growth points. The number of small and medium-sized companies remains at 20,000 since 2013, while the number of workers dropped from 143,000 to 124,000.

“Mr Turchin, you know how to work with businesses of all forms of ownership. It is of paramount importance to step up business activities and increase the contribution of entrepreneurship into the regional economy,” the head of state said addressing the governor. If new businesses are distributed evenly all over the region, you will tackle the issue of even development of the region, not only the so-called ‘golden area’ between the first and second ring roads,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. 

The president wants the regional authorities to pay special attention to some districts of the region, like Kletsk District, Kopyl District, Lyuban District, and Uzda District. “Over spring and summer next year local residents should see some changes for the better. You have everything in place to achieve it,” he emphasized.

“I want to reiterate: there will be tough punishment for land grabbing, unauthorized construction projects and mismanagement. I will set up ad hoc groups to check the situation, in particular, in Minsk Oblast, because this region is a draw for everyone. You see what it has turned into. However, I have recently been monitoring everything, up to the smallest piece of land here,” the Belarusian leader said.

In addition to that, the president drew attention to a great number of unfinished buildings and set a task to improve public amenities, in particular, in rural areas. “Heads of rural councils are not up to the mark. We agreed one day that a house should be built within two or three years. It should also have exterior and interior finishes so that dwellers will not have to spend a lifetime finishing the indoor area,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He advised the new governor to use his experience of working in the government in order to promote the region. “Industrialization and digitalization are the pillars of growth. Economic digitalization is major global trend. This does not mean that it should be confined to Minsk, to the government. This is the only way to increase the technological level even in the agricultural sector,” the head of state said. In addition to that, the president suggested that the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee in collaboration with the Development Bank should consider a possibility of financing projects to promote rural entrepreneurship and local initiatives.

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