Tomorrow ever more visible
On June 22nd and 23rd, the Palace of the Republic was the centre of the country’s public and political life
On June 22nd and 23rd, the Palace of the Republic was the centre of the country’s public and political life, as well as its economic headquarters, hosting 2,500 delegates for the 5th Belarusian People’s Congress, discussing the draft 2016-2020 programme for socio-economic development
Active exchange of opinions
The forum brought together representatives of all strata of society, with heads, deputies and representatives of associations and parties acting as delegates, alongside factory and farm workers, soldiers, entrepreneurs, students and pensioners. Diplomats and foreign guests were also present.
The majority of speeches focused on solving problems. Semen Shapiro, the Chairman of Minsk Regional Executive Committee, proposed, “The National Bank and the Government should elaborate a monetary policy to facilitate the attraction of capital, not to bank deposits but into the national economy. We must stop the ‘transfer’ of resources from enterprises via banks to those currently investing money in deposits.”
The Director General of Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ), Fiodor Domotenko, notes that, this year, MTZ celebrates its 70th anniversary. It has made around four million units of machinery in this time, with around three million exported, to more than 120 countries. One in ten universal tractors worldwide bears the ‘Belarus’ trademark.
Valentin Baiko, an entrepreneur from Grodno, who heads Conte Spa, defies sceptics who berate our business conditions. The Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, Mikhail Orda, spoke of protecting employment interests during this difficult economic period, while the Editor-in-Chief of Zvyazda Publishing Holding, Alexander Karlyukevich, pondered the role of the media in the life of society.
The President, who attended each day of the Belarusian People’s Congress, listened attentively to each delegate, helping with explanations or expressing his own position. Mr. Lukashenko noted having solved a range of problematic issues, having supported delegates’ proposals to improve the system of professional education and to consider issues of business loans and promoting healthy living into the public consciousness.
Many issues were raised in the sphere of professional training, with the President clearly expressing his point of view. He said, “We can lament as much as we like but we must train employees on-the-job. Not a single university, not a vocational training school, college or lyceum, can conduct all necessary training. It’s true everywhere around the world, that employees need additional training until they reach the necessary level of competence.”
Mr. Lukashenko has asked that all proposals raised at the Belarusian People’s Congress be analysed and answered. In his closing speech, he underlined, “This forum has clearly demonstrated that the rule of the people is the most important instrument in taking decisions in Belarus. I like your business determination to work and the simultaneously easy and friendly atmosphere of this Congress. We’ve already approved a long-term strategy for the country’s development and have adopted programme documents for the coming five years, while elaborating major guidelines for the country’s innovative renewal and economic modernisation, taking into account new world trends.” The President also thanked everyone responsible for the organisation and conduct of the forum.
At the end of the event, former submariner, Captain 1st rank Nikolay Yegorov, noted, “I’ve crossed four oceans and 25 seas, having seen and experienced a great deal. I have complete admiration for what I’ve heard at the Belarusian People’s Congress. I see that we will survive current difficulties. We just need to tighten our belts for a while, as they say. Naval practice shows that any power ends sooner or later, so all problems will disappear.”
The address of participants of the 5th Belarusian People’s Congress echoed this: ‘We’re a nation, strong in spirit, and we’ll cope with any difficulties on the way to achieving dynamic development of our beloved Belarus’.
The restoration and provision of further sustainable economic growth as a basis for successful life for future generations were determined in the resolution of the 5th Belarusian People’s Congress as a key task for the coming five-year term. The resolution will be submitted to the President for consideration and for the adoption of necessary decisions.
Delegates take the floor
Irina Shabuldaeva, a wall painter at Gomel’s House-Building Plant:
We, construction workers, are ready to work longer hours, with due diligence, so recent news of the possibility of reduced volumes of housing built with state support is of concern to our team. Commercial construction of housing at this stage won’t cover falling volumes. We need to pay attention to this. It may be worthwhile to develop new forms of financing and support for citizens. Then, more people will have the chance to improve their housing, and will have employment. I say this not only for us, construction workers, but for other sectors of the economy. As a matter of fact, construction has always been the driving force. We need also to make training relevant, and to enhance the prestige of blue-collar jobs. We want to attract young people into the construction industry: not just those who don’t go to university or college, but those who deliberately choose the profession.
Semen Shapiro, Chairman of Minsk Regional Executive Committee:
We have chosen our path. And here is the result: over the past 20 years, independent Belarus has provided a high level of quality of life for its citizens. The people of Belarus showed truly historic wisdom at the election of the first head of their independent state. The development of a strong team of young professionals is at the heart of the essential achievements of the Minsk Region. We find them and raise them. The average age of farm managers in recent years is under 30 years, while the average age of executive committee chairs is about 35. They are the future.
Valery Gubarenko, Chairman of the Brest Regional Organisation of Veterans of the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans:
We are fortunate in living in a country whose main achievements are peace and independence. This is why our sons are not being transported from hot spots around the globe in zinc coffins. The situation is not such everywhere in the world. Several countries are involved in military activity. Veterans of the Brest Region, like all citizens of Belarus, are concerned about the geopolitical situation. We have no doubt that our country has everything we need to solidly maintain stability and security. Our army is equipped with modern equipment and weapons and is able to repel any aggressor. In conclusion, I wish to include the study of information about Brest Fortress and materials held by the Great Patriotic War Museum to be incorporated into educational syllabuses.
Svetlana Soroko, Director of the Palace of Culture in Molodechno, a member of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly:
This year, my hometown of Molodechno received status as the Cultural Capital of Belarus. A nation without culture cannot be rich. Cultural workers have far-reaching plans for the coming five-year period. At the Council of the Republic, we’re working on a code of culture, with members of the House of Representatives and the Government. This document will open broad prospects for attracting investments into the sphere of culture, based on public private partnerships, and development of patronage traditions.
Leonid Penkovsky, Chairman of the Beshenkovichi Regional Executive Committee:
Over the coming five years, it will be essential not only to maintain the current level, but to ensure further increase in output, while increasing quality and productivity. Satisfying objectives will be difficult without further state support for the agricultural sector, in the form of concessional loans, markups for manufactured goods, and deliveries of leasing equipment. I believe we should pay more attention to the development of farms, especially in branches such as sheep breeding, rabbit breeding, and fur farming. We have the chance to do so. It’s important to note that a modern plant producing medicine to treat cancer and other serious diseases is to launch in Beshenkovichi by the end of the year. Its products will be import-substitutional and oriented for export.
By Vladimir Khromov