By Vladimir Mikhailov
Also present was the Minister for Architecture and Construction, Anatoly Nichkasov, who couldn’t hide his joy. He told us, “This is a great gift to the construction industry, to the country and to the region. It is symbolic in being launched on the eve of Builder’s Day and, this spring, a similar line was launched at Krasnoselskstroymaterialy OJSC. Krichevcementnoshifer OJSC is next in line, being almost ready. The effect of modernising the cement industry is already obvious, with no deficits on the domestic market and exports reaching $41m over six months (equivalent to the whole of 2011).”
In December of 2008, the decision was taken to modernise the cement industry as volumes of construction grew countrywide. Construction materials were also in great demand abroad and our cement plants were not able to benefit from the situation, earning revenue. A third of our machinery needed replacement to allow increased production. Moreover, high energy consumption was reducing the competitive element of exports.
Modernisation at these three plants, suggested by Chinese investors, should solve these problems, aided by a Chinese loan of $16bn. The President, talking to employees of the construction industry and representatives of the Chinese party, including the Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Gong Jianwei, asked many questions -Q- regarding payback timescales to restructuring and the use of new kinds of construction materials in demand on the market. Mr. Lukashenko also paid attention to the less pleasing fact that launching of new lines at these three enterprises has been deferred. The heads of enterprises gave objective and subjective reasons, without offering excuses. The President has set the launch date for the line in Krichev as May 1st 2013. Major investments have been made to ensure not only export growth but cost savings. Mr. Nichkasov stresses that the launch of new lines at these three enterprises will allow the state to save up to $80m annually.
Can we sell only cement? Dry blends, concrete components and pavement decorative plates are also in demand on the market. The country has resources of chalk, marl, sand and clay to last perhaps hundreds of years. Mr. Lukashenko emphasised that we should diversify our production over the years, developing new avenues, with help from Chinese partners if they are willing. He explained “Launching production of prefab reinforced concrete at the Belarusian Cement Plant will be profitable to both of us. Give us an answer by October. Meanwhile, the Government should consider other ways of implementing the project.”
Needless to say, the opening of a new production line in a town like Kostyukovichi means a great deal, since it creates jobs. According to the Director General of the Belarusian Cement Plant, Vladimir Kiselev, 155 new jobs are available, paying adequate salaries. It is sure to inspire further development of the town and others like it.
Soon, the whole south-east Mogilev Region should become more economically active, with new factories and farms opening. The President has tasked the Chairman of the Mogilev Region Executive Committee, Piotr Rudnik, will local socio-economic development, having heard his report. Mr. Lukashenko is also keen to reconsider the distribution of regional funding relating to alleviating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, making all as fair and efficient as possible.