Need to be ready for end of crisis
Machine-building development strategy being drafted for Belarus
Machine-building development strategy being drafted for Belarus
During his conversation with representatives of the labour collective at Amkodor-Pinsk CJSC, Alexander Lukashenko noted, “We’re preparing a major session at presidential level, in order to adopt strategic decisions. Specialists are now working on a strategy for machine-building.”
Produce by Amkodor-Pinsk CJSC able to do much
According to the Head of State, the Governmental session will sum up the results of his working visits to a number of industrial enterprises in Belarus and will produce concrete decisions. “Let me tell you the most important thing: our machine-building industry will live; it will not be curtailed. We’ll go for advanced manufacturing as your enterprises have done [Amkodor Holding Company]. It’s not enough to import components and assemble them. We need to produce independently, at our own enterprises,” stressed the President.
Mr. Lukashenko reminded that, in the past, there has been much debate about whether Belarus should preserve and develop major industrial enterprises like MTZ, MAZ, BelAZ, and Amkodor. Opinions were voiced in favour of shutting down or selling these enterprises and focusing on some other kind of business. “We’ve preserved all, including Amkodor. Today, it’s not the enterprise it was. It’s a huge holding company that comprises about twenty enterprises, with over 6,000 employees. Amkodor makes cutting-edge products that sell well on the global market. Belarus will retain its mechanical engineering industry. We are competitive. Nobody claims anymore that we cannot compete with Germany, Sweden or France. We can make things as well as they do. We’ve almost learned how to sell things, too,” the President underlined.
According to Mr. Lukashenko, in the fight for customers, Belarusian manufacturers enjoy certain advantages over those from abroad; in particular, they have lower prime costs. “If every one of us wisely approaches matters of manufacturing from our own respective positions — from blue-collar workers to chairs of boards of directors — things will turn out well,” said the President. “We have no other choice. What can replace the machine-building industry? We must develop what we know. This is why we’re resolute to bolster the mechanical engineering industry.”
Mr. Lukashenko believes that a number of foreign investors may be interested in launching manufacturing in Belarus, including European and Chinese investors, and ‘wealthy people’ in the Russian Federation. “They’re welcome to work here; we invite them to do so. We’re going to create Belarusian products. If they’re willing to invest their money, they can go right ahead. We’ll work together. They can turn a profit and recoup their investments,” noted the President.
Belarus will continue working to diversify its export markets Mr. Lukashenko told staff of Amkodor-Pinsk CJSC, “We need to explore new markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the European Union, the United States, without losing the main Russian market, of course.” The Head of State noted that the recent collapse of Russian and Ukrainian markets in terms of demand has adversely affected the Belarusian economy. He admitted, “We didn’t sufficiently diversify our export markets; 15 years ago, we sold more than 80 percent of our goods to Russia, while today the figure is less than 50 percent. We’ve done a good job but the Russian market continues to influence us. If they have problems, we do too.”
“This is why we’re diversifying our markets, while keeping an eye on that of Russia. It’s close. Moreover, the equipment that we produce is in demand in Russia,” added Mr. Lukashenko.
The meeting tackled various topics, including problematic issues of the country’s socio-economic development, for discussion at the forthcoming All-Belarusian People’s Congress.
According to the Head of State, the forthcoming event is especially important for heads of industry, at various levels. “They should hear and see in which direction the country will be developing,” noted the President. “There will be serious discussion regarding problematic issues. These are complex issues. They will primarily feel the burden of our tasks and will take part in the development of this course.”
The Head of State noted that the All-Belarusian People’s Congress will set out future development plans, not only for industry but for the spheres of agriculture, transport and construction.
Three main priorities are outlined for the country’s socio-economic development draft programme for the next five years: attraction of efficient investments, creation of jobs and export promotion. “I’ve asked that we look wider. Perhaps we’ll have five priorities,” noted the President. Mr. Lukashenko added that various political issues will be discussed at the Belarusian People’s Congress. “However, the economy will be high on the agenda. We’ve already considered all other areas, and the economy continues to raise a lot of questions and, even, disagreements. I’ve instructed that we finalise the programme within the next ten days,” said the President.
Mr. Lukashenko expects Belarus’ GDP to grow by at least 12 percent between 2016 and 2020. The 2016-2020 programme of socio-economic development is to be discussed during the Belarusian People’s Congress, setting ambitious tasks for the Government. “During the five-year period, we need to see GDP growth of at least 12 percent. For the time being, the Government suggests setting the target at 10.1 percent,” he asserts.
Mr. Lukashenko sees opportunities for overcoming the economic crisis and securing sustainable development, with the focus on exports. “We must survive this period. If we give up, whining and moaning about the crisis, it will be tantamount to burying ourselves alive, which isn’t our way. A crisis is primarily in one’s head,” stressed the Belarusian leader.
According to the President, Belarusian products are now in demand in many countries. “We need to find countries that will buy our merchandise. It’s necessary to learn how to ‘sell’. This crisis has made us learn fast and we are learning indeed,” Mr. Lukashenko underlines.
By Vladimir Velikhov
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