Posted: 22.03.2023 15:50:00

By our own forces and intellect

Belarusian industry focuses on the production of its own, national product

From storms (including economic ones) people are protected by dams and breakwaters. In order to keep destructive whirlwinds out of their own harbour, but at the same time allowing friendly ships to enter ports. In a word, to manage the processes in their own backwater, keeping calm in it, regardless of the weather on the outer raids. However, the President raised the issue of import independence of the Belarusian economy not without reason at the last meeting of the Council of Ministers. Then external shocks will minimally affect our lives. First Deputy Industry Minister Aleksandr Ogorodnikov spoke about increasing the sovereignty of the Belarusian industrial sector and reducing its dependence on foreign partners.

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko,
“All our best Belarusian minds — scientists and designers — should work not just for import substitution, but for the country’s import independence... Wherever the replacement of imported is rational, our own, Belarusian, should be created and implemented. But not by blind copying, but with improved characteristics. Dependence on Western technologies and components should be minimised within 2–3 years.”
During the meeting of the Council of Ministers on March 10th, 2023

Favourable localisation

— Belarus has always strived to create its own product. Therefore, we are proud of the Belarusian tractor, the Belarusian harvester, the Belarusian mining dump truck...
Localisation of production has been and is a traditional strategy of our large industrial enterprises. And it fully justified itself during the pandemic: when assembly lines in many countries stopped due to a lack of components, our companies continued to work successfully.
Key units, assemblies and components for our equipment are produced in Belarus, while the skill sets of engineering, design and supply services allows us to quickly resolve issues with the transition to alternative suppliers of imported raw materials and stuff. For this reason, the sanctions imposed against the country did not create insurmountable problems for our enterprises. This is noted even by opposition publications and media from unfriendly countries: they admit that none of our enterprises has received ‘programmed’ problems from restrictions. Yes, there were difficulties associated with the change of some suppliers, the lengthening of supply chains. 
But we managed to quickly adapt to new conditions. And over the past year, the enterprises of the system of the Industry Ministry increased their production volumes by 8 percent, exports — by 15.2 percent. These figures are an indisputable confirmation that the Belarusian industry has not only survived, but also produces products that are in demand on the domestic and foreign markets. 

Substitution for a billion 

— Such results were achieved, among other things, thanks to systematic work on the localisation of production. In 2016-2022, the system of the Industry Ministry implemented more than two thousand import substitution measures for a wide range of products. And we achieved several goals at once: we increased independence from third-party suppliers, increased the volume of products produced, and annually save foreign exchange funds in the equivalent of $500 million. 
In 2023-2025, the design and technological services of our enterprises have planned the implementation of about a thousand more events. The expected economic effect is about $400 million. In two five-year plans, we will substitute imports by almost a billion dollars. 
I would like to note that import-substituting materials, components and assemblies mastered in production are supplied not only to Belarusian conveyors, but also sold for export. And they earn additional profit, as the export situation is often very attractive. 

Machine tool industry on the rise 

— There are three machine tool centres in Belarus — in Vitebsk, Gomel and Minsk. As in other industries, we have retained full-cycle production in the machine tool industry. The only gap is the electronic control unit. In this direction, we are working with friendly countries, primarily China, as well as a number of Russian enterprises. Some of them have good competencies in the production of machine tool control racks. Today, Belarus has all the necessary skill sets for the development of the machine tool industry. 
The challenges facing the industry are ambitious. Western countries closed themselves off from Belarus and Russia. And the investment potential of domestic producers is huge. There is solvent demand for their products, primarily from Belarusian enterprises. 
There are also deliveries to Russia, but they are not yet as significant as we would like. But I am sure we will use the potential. This year, the target is to double the production of machine tools. Under these volumes there are applications with real financing. 

Macroattention to microelectronics 

— The development of microelectronics is the principal goal for the near future. Our Integral in has a strong position its segments in the global market. The company is consistently implementing a number of investment projects. And they allow in the near future to expand production and develop products with a design norm of 180 nanometres with an eye on 90 nanometres. 
The technologies with a design norm of 0.35 microns, which we already own, remain relevant. These products account for more than half of the world microelectronics market. I would like to note that the competencies of the Integral level are owned by a few countries.
The enterprise will modernise its production facilities. Doubling, and possibly even tripling production volumes by 2030 is not a fantasy, but real production plans. 
The key goal is to replace the foreign component base as much as possible. To the extent possible, satisfy the domestic demand for microelectronic products through our own production. 
In fairness, it should be noted that it is impossible to produce the entire range of microchips. There are millions of sizes available worldwide. Therefore, all countries, without exception, import microchips to one degree or another.
Undoubtedly, we will also buy some products from foreign partners. But we focus on friendly countries. Products important for critical infrastructure, security and other strategic areas will be produced at our facilities. Moreover, we have the necessary potential for it. 

By Vladimir Volchkov