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28 Jan 2020

Lukashenko takes stock of Vitebsk Oblast agricultural sector

Lukashenko takes stock of Vitebsk Oblast agricultural sector

MINSK, 28 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is hosting a meeting on 28 January to discuss ways to improve the situation in the agricultural industry of Vitebsk Oblast, BelTA has learned.

The issues facing the region’s agricultural sector were previously discussed by the head of state in November. Back then instructions were given to rectify the situation. It is important that these issues should be addressed as they are common for all the regions of the country.

“How were the conceptual proposals and decisions announced in Vitebsk fulfilled? The first question is what measures are suggested? What are the proposed financial rehabilitation models and, most importantly, how will they help the situation?” the president asked addressing the meeting. “The materials that were submitted rely on state support. If this is the only thing you want, then we are wasting our time,” the president added.

“The approaches remain the same. The question is not only and not so much about money, but rather the conclusions made. Are there any well-calibrated manufacturing and financial plans? How are you going to put to rights economic activities? Do regional authorities have any idea what they are going to do next?” the president asked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that all the people working in the agricultural sector in Vitebsk Oblast, from blue-color workers to executives, should cheer up and work to the limit of their ability. “Tell them that if the government meets them halfway, they will have to work round the clock in order to repay the debts they have accumulated and to turn their enterprises into profitable companies,” the head of state said.

While urging people to work harder, it is absolutely necessary to pay them decent salaries. “People in Vitebsk Oblast, just like in other regions, should keep in mind that they should work their fingers to the bone. However, we should not forget that if you want people to grind away, you need to pay them decent salaries in time. How is this issue addressed in your plans? How are you going to keep people working in the countryside and to bring new highly-qualified specialists?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.

The president noted that he expects a comprehensive approach to the matter from the participants of the meeting. “How efficient are the proposed measures? Will they be able to improve the situation and help the regional agricultural sector achieve sustainable growth? Most importantly, have the government and the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee managed to work out universally applicable solutions that can be used in other regions of the country? If we embark on managerial reforms, where will we take specialists for that? Do you have them?” the president asked.

A reminder, Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a government conference on 22 November to discuss the development of agribusiness in Vitebsk Oblast. Setting up a massive holding company was one of the solutions put forward during the meeting, however, the head of state turned down the proposal in favor of gradual evolution and skillful development of the existing integrated structures.

“Here is my decision: the holding companies you’ve set up will stay. I don’t mind if they grow larger with new agricultural enterprises. These enterprises will remain economically viable. If you earn more, you can keep it. If you earn less, there will be no consequences. I want organizational decisions, disciplinary decisions, or even prison time for those, who don’t work well. We will resolve the problem of debts. There will be no superstructures [on top of the existing holding companies]. None of that for now,” the president stressed.

In addition to that, Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested considering the possibility of privatizing and selling the agricultural enterprises that cannot work effectively on their own to investors.

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