Belarusian construction industry ready to expand exports
Opportunities need to be created to improve prospects
Alexander Lukashenko believes that the Belarusian construction industry is able to increase its exports. The Head of State was speaking at a meeting dedicated to problematic issues surrounding the development of the building materials industry. “Today’s most important task is to sell our goods at a good price and secure the return of currency back to the country. A great deal depends on it, including the ability of companies to pay off their loans, as well as the availability of resources for production development and wage increases,” said the President. Mr. Lukashenko pointed out that Belarus has its own considerable raw material resources for the building materials industry. He reminded the audience that domestic plants producing cement and glass have been upgraded for this purpose. The technical upgrade of house-building factories is also nearly complete.
“This means we’ve created all the conditions to satisfy domestic demand and build up exports,” emphasised the President. In his words, due to growing competition and the contraction of foreign markets, the quality of goods comes to the fore and gives a competitive edge. “So far almost 80 percent of the country’s building materials have been sold domestically. Demand has been shrinking, the industry dynamics have been worsening, and additional capacities have been used inefficiently.”
Mr. Lukashenko stressed that a range of firm instructions have been given to facilitate the development of the building materials industry. In this respect, he asked the Government to report on the status of these measures, on the things that prevent successful operation of the industry and on actions taken to promote the financial recuperation of enterprises. He also inquired whether the Government is planning any additional measures. “We need to determine what needs to be done firstly to help the industry. We should also develop systematic approaches to address the challenges,” said the President. He asked the government officials to remember that the issue is about the core organisations with many employees. “The well-being of more than 50,000 workers and their families directly depends on the stable operation of these enterprises,” he reminded everyone.
Mr. Lukashenko urged that the base cost of building materials should be lowered. He emphasised the need to reduce expenses in the sector. A lower cost is a necessity for healthy sales and competition in the neighbouring markets. According to Belarus’ Minister of Architecture and Construction Anatoly Cherny, the market for building materials has recently contracted and investment activity has weakened, including in the markets of Belarus’ neighbours.
In this respect, the Government asked the President to provide state support to the enterprises, in particular for the cement and glass industries. Mr. Lukashenko stressed that the basic criterion for giving financial support to these enterprises is maximum cost reduction. Only when the enterprises produce results on this front will we begin to discuss possible state support. During the meeting, the President drew attention to the additional need to protect the domestic market.
By Vasily Kharitonov