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4 Jun 2020

Sustainable economic growth described as priority for Belarusian government

Sustainable economic growth described as priority for Belarusian government

MINSK, 4 June (BelTA) – The entire system of government bodies should do its best to ensure sustainable balanced economic development with a growth rate above the world average, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the new composition of the government, BelTA has learned.

The head of state described the government as the economic headquarters and a crucial decision-making center. “It is essential to find formats and instruments which will help the entire system of government bodies reach the main goal – to ensure sustainable balanced economic development with a growth rate above the world average. There are no other options. No one should stand aside from this work, everybody should clearly realize their role in the process,” the president emphasized.

He remarked that Belarus has an open economy. However, it is necessary to take measures for the protection of the local market. “Our domestic market is not big, but we must protect it. This is number one priority for the government, and the previous government did not resolve the issue,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “They referred to some obligations. Look what Russia did. They closed their borders and banned the import of diesel fuel and gasoline. They closed from imports. Was it right? It does not matter, the pandemic will justify everything. So they closed their borders.”

“Why are other countries working so hard to protect their domestic markets? They did not open them for us. Even if we address them as our friends when we want to sell something, they are mulling over for a year or two. They want us to provide a list and to show how much we will sell on their markets, what prices we want to get for our products. These processes are under control,” the president said. “The operations with foreign manufacturers should be under control. Unfortunately, the previous government did not fulfill my instructions to protect the domestic market. Pending decisions should be made in the near future.”

However, economic growth should not rely only on the domestic market. Export and external demand are also very important. “There will be no foreign currency without export. We need to finally handle the issue of dependence from the market of one country. We cannot even depend by 50-55% on brotherly Russia,” the president said. He recalled that some time ago it was decided to promote the development of export to neighboring and distant countries, to look for new markets. Serious progress is needed here.

The head of state also wants the new government to address issues in the manufacturing sector. “The Industry Ministry has not evolved into the ministry of industrial policy. It is still working with a group of subordinate enterprises. It is not enough today,” he said. “As a result, some interdependent issues are neglected. These are import substitution and product quality. Without competitive prices and proper quality we will not convince consumers to choose Belarusian products instead of foreign analogues. We can do it, and we have learned to do it many areas. It is essential to improve production and technological discipline in some fields.”

According to the president, efficient management of public assets is another priority for the new government. “These assets should generate profits. Representatives of these state-run facilities should not come and beg for money from the budget. Indeed, the situation can be difficult sometimes, and we must provide assistance. And we will support them. Not because these are state-run facilities, but because our people work there. They should have an opportunity to provide for their families,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Business efficiency is a key. Enterprises should be competitive on the global market and generate profit, the president added.

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