Country obviously needs more investors for deep processing of its timber wealth
Alexander Lukashenko demands more effective measures to solve wood-working industry problems, during meeting to discuss urgent issues facing timber enterprises, and their solutions
The state has long supported the timber industry; only dairy enterprises gain more attention. The President has more than once explained that timber not only performs a function in import substitution but has powerful export potential. Belarus can only benefit from processing its raw materials, making investment into modernisation a wise path. Wood-working companies have received over $1billion in funding, bringing high expectations for return and efficiency.
The President told those gathered that some decisions will be unpopular but that most modernisation has been completed. Sadly, market potential has shrunk, and Belarus faces severe global sales competition, including from Russia. The President notes that European timber is more expensive but that it also offers higher quality of production. He warns, “We’re living under these conditions and must solve issues within today’s world.”
Discussion at the meeting concluded that Belarus cannot wait for markets to present themselves: effective and drastic measures are needed to ensure our market niche. Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov reported not only on financial questions but wider issues, such as reducing costs, improving quality, and diversification of markets. Mr. Kobyakov notes that progress is evident, with 32 percent of goods exported over the first five months of this year. In 2012, export share hardly exceeded 20 percent. However, there is no time for complacency, since quality needs to be improved and new approaches taken towards expanding sales and selecting effective marketing strategies.
The Presidential Administration’s Deputy Head, Nikolai Snopkov, noted that Bellesbumprom should cease to be an administrative unit, becoming a centre of competence, and auditing the technologies applied at enterprises. It should unite business processes to develop wood-working countrywide, guiding marketing work, and engaging in finding contracts, working towards the full loading of production capacity. Mr. Snopkov underlines that even full loading of Bellesbumprom enterprises would enable processing of only half the timber cut in Belarus. Full, deep processing is the aim, for which investment is required, to expand facilities. The Government is now charged with analysing all initiatives, before submitting them to the President for adoption.
By Vasily Kharitonov