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Question and answer

Hotline during 5th All-Belarusian People’s Congress allows anyone to call with suggestions on socio-economic development of the country
During the forum, phone call statistics were disclosed by the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Vladimir Andreichenko, who noted that over 420 calls had been received by the end of the second day of the Congress. Most touched upon the sphere of housing services and utilities and construction, although many concerned social policy and labour relations.

Mr. Andreichenko underlined that operators had often accepted words of gratitude to organisations for assistance provided. Some citizens brought up problems, such as the need for career guidance for schoolchildren, and the introduction of e-schools, the necessity of provision of housing for soldiers, the need for nationwide urban clean-up days, the promotion of a recycling culture, and the need for environmental packaging for food products. Mr. Andreichenko mentioned that an interesting proposal had been received: to set up a Presidential Council of Young Scientists, to generate ideas for economic application.

Some requests were more personal, such as that from a young man suffering with hip joint arthrosis, requiring stem cell treatment not yet available in Belarus. He needs expensive surgery available in a neighbouring country, and efforts are being made to facilitate this.

Of course, requests may be personal while having the potential for nationwide reform. One wheelchair user from Minsk phoned to say that his building needs an access ramp, to allow mobility.

All questions and requests are being processed, with some to be included into the outcome programme documents of the All-Belarusian People’s Congress. Every applicant will receive a detailed answer.

Experts’ opinions

Georgy Grits, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Association:

The speech of the Head of the State was traditionally strategic and broad ranging. At the same time, it seemed quite different from previous speeches. It’s a kind of flow chart. If you break down the speech into quotes, they can be regarded as guidelines to action. Of course, accomplishment of such ambitious tasks challenging the country demands the consolidation of society, business, and the Government. Without common goals and criteria for leaders, it’s impossible to achieve this consolidation. 

Tatiana Sadovskaya, Candidate of Economic Sciences:

It is important not to turn payment for labour into a simple welfare payment, which does not depend on the employee’s contribution. We need rigorous application of state obligations in the field of social objectives, the achievement of greater social equality, justice and prosperity. Health care, education, culture and social support systems should be built around families and individuals. At the same time, we need to nourish the idea that the state is not the giver, but is a partner providing facilities for the well-being of citizens. State strategy should be built upon social protection and social progress.

Konstantin Shebeko, Doctor of Economics:

Humanity, including Belarus, is facing the serious challenge of global technology transfer. Not everybody understands this yet but, in general, we already live in a new reality. In this situation, we have two options: either we, as a country, find an adequate response to this challenge, allowing us to be among those who move to the next stage; or we lose this chance. This is the price to be paid, and what we have discussed, including at this forum, are the priorities of education and those of the wider economy. This is our response to the challenge. The most important thing is the implementation of our agenda: how far we participate in the process actively and effectively. In the economy, there is the concept of ‘free-rider effect’, when everyone wants to use public benefits, yet believes that they should be set up by someone else. Believe me, solving the problem of transition to a new reality based on completely different technologies is impossible without tremendous mental and physical determination.

Anatoly Bashmakov, Doctor of Economics:

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia make up the core of the major economic formation: the EAEU. Together, we have enormous opportunities. However, at the present time, economic co-operation needs to be filled with humanitarian content. We are very close historically, mentally and morally.
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