The goals of the programme should be feasibly ambitious

All-Belarusian People’s Congress provides vital link in achieving targets set during election campaign, while the task was set clearly: keeping to these goals is vital

All-Belarusian People’s Congress provides vital link in achieving targets set during election campaign, while the task was set clearly: keeping to these goals is vital

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Over the next five-year term, Belarus needs to keep pace with the world economy, science and progress, noted Alexander Lukashenko during a recent three-hour Governmental session discussing the draft 2016-2020 programme on Belarus’ socio-economic development.

He commented, “Strategic goals of socio-economic development for the medium term have been determined, as have measures to reach those goals. What we promised to the people in the pre-election period must be unconditionally fulfilled. It is now necessary to sketch out further practical steps. As part of the pre-election campaign, we decided what we’d accomplish. Just one year after the Presidential elections, our programme shouldn’t have changed drastically; at least the main strategic points must remain intact.”

The President remarked that the 2016-2020 socio-economic development programme is the key document for discussions during the 5th Belarusian People’s Congress. “I’d like to see a new, more interesting form of the document, bringing it alive. Not only specialists but ordinary people, for whom we set out to accomplish the programme, should be able to comprehend its indicators across every chapter,” said the Head of State.

“We need real but ambitious goals. Over the next five-year term, we should recover what we’ve lost. Moreover, it’s desirable that we should keep pace with the world economy, science and progress. Falling behind is not an option, since we have the ability to build year on year. This programme needs to stipulate what needs to be done to reach this goal,” continued the President.

According to Mr. Lukashenko, the programme should clearly define ways and mechanisms for implementing plans. “For instance, if we aim for a specific GDP figure, we need to know how we’ll achieve this: where we’ll sell merchandise and for how much?” noted the Belarusian leader.

Mr. Lukashenko remarked that the Belarusian People’s Congress will gather skilled Belarusians, who excel at what they do and know the nation’s concerns. “They’ll represent our nation, alongside the Government. We should openly and honestly arrange this discussion, by working on relevant documents,” said the Head of State.

“Shortcomings are obvious, there’s no need to hide them. The nation sees them. However, we should also recall all the good things we’ve achieved, not only in the last five years but since Belarus gained independence,” believes the President.

Belarus’ Prime Minister, Andrei Kobyakov, delivered the main report during the Governmental session. The President then asked several major questions, in particular, on whether goals discussed by the Belarusian People’s Congress are intensive and feasible. He questioned the instruments available for recovering the previous five-year term’s losses, and what needs to be done to secure economic growth to rival the world’s average, of 2.5-3.5 percent per annum, as a minimum.

“I don’t want to hear excessively pessimistic estimates that slide to the level of previous years. No pessimism!” stressed the Head of State.

Mr. Lukashenko added that more than one other meeting will be held to discuss preparations for the 5th Belarusian People’s Congress in the run-up to the actual event. “It is a serious test. In the near future, we’ll discuss various facts across various levels.”

The Governmental session brought vigorous and detailed discussion. The main provisions of the draft programme for the country’s 2016-2020 socio-economic development have been prepared by the Government, with assistance from a monitoring group led by the Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly, Mikhail Myasnikovich, as well as various state agencies and organisations. During the session, leading officials from the Belarusian Presidential Administration, the State Control Committee, the Academy of Sciences, and regional governors expressed remarks and put forth proposals. The main parameters for planning economic development were discussed in detail, with balanced development of the country being the main purpose of the five-year plan.

The suggested document contains a wise balance of continuity and novelties. However, more concrete tactics and ways to reach goals are necessary. Agreed priorities include effective investment, employment, and exports.

The President has demanded that the final form of the draft document represent a concrete plan of practical actions that everyone can understand. There are ten days to polish the document, which needs to specify intensive goals, while answering vital questions of citizenry, levels of revenue, prices, housing construction plans and policy on interest rates on loans.

“What the Government has suggested today is the foundation that will give rise to the programme being jointly developed,” said Mr. Lukashenko.

By Vasily Kharitonov
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