MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) – It is necessary to process all the timber domestically. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he heard out a report on the export of round timber on 24 January, BelTA has learned.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, the government has come forward with a proposal to extend timber export quotas. “I don't understand why you still submit these matters for consideration of the president,” said the head of state. “We are talking about using timber resources of our country. A short while ago we talked very seriously about land, land allocation for construction projects, and the value of land resources. Today we are talking about timber resources. Timber is the second most valuable resource me and you have not created but inherited from god.”
Alexander Lukashenko reminded that a presidential decree was signed in 2015 to prohibit the export of unprocessed timber without authorization by the head of state. Unprocessed timber export was allowed only in exceptional circumstances. “Force-majeure circumstances emerge sometimes. When the hurricane felled trees on dozens of thousands of hectares of forest land in 2015-2016, you contacted me three times and I authorized the export of round timber,” noted Alexander Lukashenko.
The head of state made it clear that there is no emergency now. The forest lands, which have been affected by the recent hurricane, are quite small and accessible for forest harvesting machines.
“We've been developing and investing in the woodworking industry for many years. Woodworking industry is an industry with abundant raw materials in Belarus,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “We are capable of manufacturing ready-made products with a high added value on our own using these raw materials.”
The head of state noted that the trees felled by the hurricane can at least be made into unedged boards, which are in demand in the countryside. Other products that sell well can be made, too. “And now the government suggests extending the effect of timber export quotas. In other words, they suggest extending the permission to export unprocessed timber,” stated the President.
Alexander Lukashenko wondered how much raw timber is still unsold and why it needs to be exported while a number of woodworking enterprises are operating under full capacity. The head of state was also interested in learning how many Belarus-made forest harvesters had been bought and how much money had been allocated for building the forest roads for extracting and processing this timber.
After the government conference Belarusian Forestry Minister Mikhail Amelyanovich told media that Alexander Lukashenko had authorized the export of 1.8 million m3 of unprocessed timber in 2017. “He warned it was the last time and he doesn't want to hear more requests like that. All the raw materials should be processed by Belarusian enterprises,” said the Forestry Minister. He explained that not all the woodworking enterprises had been modernized yet, this is why the domestic demand for timber will only grow larger in the near future. Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Plant will be one of the largest buyers of these raw materials particularly taking into account the creation of the new division that will manufacture sulfated bleached pulp.More about President