Situation requires more active diversity for exports

President Alexander Lukashenko orients Government towards higher results of economic growth

President Alexander Lukashenko orients Government towards higher results of economic growth, as scheduled by main documents of Belarus’ development for 2015
President Alexander Lukashenko orients Government towards higher results of economic growth, as scheduled by main documents of Belarus’ development for 2015

The President of Belarus spoke at a session dedicated to acute issues of economic development, noting that Belarus’ major monetary policy guidelines for 2015 and the most important parameters of the country’s socio-economic development forecast have been approved. “The growth forecast is modest. However, I want to warn you that this is the lower level. We should not be focused on 0.5 percent or 1 percent growth. If we have the slightest opportunity, we must grab it and ensure a higher growth rate,” noted the President.

Polotsk-Steklovolokno JSC actively promotes its goods to Latin American markets
Polotsk-Steklovolokno JSC actively promotes its goods to Latin American markets

Mr. Lukashenko added that he expects to receive reports on the export situation, saying, “In order to live well, we need to sell our goods. What measures does the Government need to take to reduce its inventory backlog and raise the inflow of foreign currency by the start of 2015? Except for a few states, most of the world is yet to emerge from recession. Nevertheless, we cannot relax. What is the situation in this context?”

Mr. Lukashenko touched upon the conflict situation and restrictions on Belarusian food supplies to Russia. Addressing the Government, he noted that he would like to hear how his instructions to resolve the situation are being fulfilled and whether the restrictions set by Russia are justified. “It’s necessary to sell more and buy less in order to save money and gold and foreign currency reserves. It’s a simple formula but, for us, it’s vital,” added the Head of State. He is keen to hear about the state of affairs on the Russian market, in view of the Russian Rouble’s devaluation. Moreover, he asked about the session of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission, which took place the day before: the decisions made by the Council and their implementation.

The Head of State also touched upon Armenia’s ratification of the agreement on joining the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr. Lukashenko said that he had recently spoken on the phone to the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, who told him that his government had ratified the agreement. He asked about the state of affairs in Belarus and about its future actions, to which the Belarusian leader replied that no problems were evident.

The current situation on external markets was assessed at the session, involving the Government, the National Bank and the Administration of the President of Belarus. Special attention was drawn to the Russian market, where the Russian Rouble exchange rate is rapidly changing, with prices following. The state will render assistance to exporters trading with the Russian Federation in view of the existing situation: Russia accounts for 40 percent of Belarus’ exports. However, the Government believes that the situation is manageable. Moreover, from January-October 2014, accounts receivable and the inventory backlog reduced by about $1bn. It’s expected that Russia will soon witness significant inflation, compensating for exporters’ difficulties.

At the end of the session, the Head of State gave a number of instructions. In particular, he demanded that efforts to diversify exports be stepped up. Corresponding instructions were given to the Government, the Foreign Ministry, embassies, and their trade-economic agencies. Businesses are also taking steps: from January-September 2014, Belarus’ export supplies to third countries (beyond Russia) exceeded the level of the previous year. The Government’s role is to provide timely assistance to promote this trend and to redirect trade flow to other countries.

Mr. Lukashenko has asked that prime costs be reduced at state-run enterprises and across the Government as a whole.

By Vasily Kharitonov
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