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Opinions & Interviews

14 Aug 2018

Lukashenko warns local officials against red tape

Lukashenko warns local officials against red tape

ORSHA, 14 August (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko emphasized inadmissibility of formalism and red tape at the local level as he reviewed progress in fulfilling instructions regarding comprehensive development of Orsha District on 14 August, BelTA has learned.

The president recalled that in his State of the Nation Address in 2017 he instructed the government and the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee to secure comprehensive development of Orsha District, so that its growth pace would be at least twice as high as the region’s average.

“It is unacceptable when the work at the local level descends to formalism and red tape,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.

The head of state had reiterated on numerous occasions that the efficiency of the government and local authorities would be measured by the way the instructions regarding the region’s development are fulfilled. A task was set to develop a system-based approach that could serve as an example to other mid-size towns of the country.

“It is not only about Orsha. As I have already said it is about equal distribution of workforce across the country. We cannot let half of the country of 10-million settle down in Minsk and its suburbs. We know many examples of that. I guess all of you have been to Moscow and passed through Moscow Oblast and seen the consequences of such distribution of population and workforce. We cannot let it happen,” the president said.

While curbing housing construction in Minsk and the oblast capitals, it is necessary to develop district capitals, small towns and mid-size towns, Alexander Lukashenko is convinced. “After all, we have found the way to follow in agriculture – this is the establishment of agro-towns. We have eleven mid-size towns like this in the country and quite a lot of people – 15% of the population – live there. By the example of Orsha the government should have demonstrated a systemic approach to regional development. It should have come up with effective solutions to secure rapid development of the regions and applied them to the whole country. This was not done,” the president said.

If some of the goals were fulfilled, this was done in manual mode, the head of state noted. At the same time, systemic growth points that enable regions to grow without interference from the center were not identified or are ineffective.

“More than that, priority objectives that dealt with problem-plagued companies were not achieved. Nearly all local enterprises can be defined as problem-plagued. These enterprises need a dramatic overhaul. Judging from yesterday, one can assume that all the government members that were here have learned to explain themselves, but haven’t learned to deliver. This resulted in yesterday’s conversation,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

In his words, salary should be the reference point. At present the salary in Orsha District averages Br770, while the Vitebsk Oblast average makes up Br820. Overall, Vitebsk Oblast is at the tail-end of the country in terms of population wellbeing. Some enterprises do not even pay salaries on time. You cannot even pay that meager salary that is due. How are people supposed to survive? Naturally, you are losing people, as they are leaving. Every fourth Belarusian who went abroad for work is from your Vitebsk Oblast, the head of state said addressing Vitebsk Oblast Governor Nikolai Sherstnev.

At the same time, all the proposals regarding financing and organizational matters that were submitted to the president were upheld immediately.

Alexander Lukashenko asked about the real situation at the biggest local industrial and agricultural companies and wanted to know what prevents the government and local authorities from fulfilling the tasks unconditionally.

“There were different points of view, but we finally agreed on solutions. No one raised objections 1.5-2 years ago. Therefore, even more so I demand the answer to the question why the agreed decisions formalized by the head of state were not fulfilled. The participants of this meeting should provide objective evaluations and concrete proposals regarding the matters that need solutions. Why did you fail to fulfill the president’s instructions? This is the only question that I ask. Do not try to paint a rosy picture of how good things will be by 2025 and 2035,” the Belarusian leader noted.

A day before the president had inspected a number of Orsha-based companies, including the tool-making plant and Orsha Meat Packing Plant, as well as the Tekhnika Svyazi enterprise in the town of Baran. The president was briefed on the financial and economic performance, operation and prospects of each of these companies.

After that the head of state studied factory management and technological processes at these enterprises. As a rule, Alexander Lukashenko did not follow the pre-arranged itinerary, but personally inspected every meter of the companies’ premises and saw places that had not been cleaned even in the run-up to the president’s visit.

After seeing all that, Alexander Lukashenko harshly criticized the quality of work of local authorities, industry chiefs and companies heads.

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