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19 August 2020, 14:59

Belarusian government estimates damage from protests in excess of $500m

Valery Belsky. An archive photo
Valery Belsky. An archive photo

MINSK, 19 August (BelTA) – Damage from protests in Belarus has already exceeded $500 million, BelTA learned from Valery Belsky, aide to the Belarus president for matters of the financial and credit system.

The official said: “Losses from protest actions go beyond the Br500,000 spent on restoring flower beds and lawns. The current damage has already exceeded $500 million. The deferred damage is estimated in the billions. Foundations of the foreign loans system that took years to establish have been broken. The country's investment appeal has been damaged.”

“Workers of state-run enterprises have chosen walkouts and strikes as a form of political protest. Those are the best enterprises, which had been granted state support upon instructions of the head of state. These enterprises offered decent salaries and employment benefits. For instance, in July the salary averaged Br1,643 at the Belarusian steel mill BMZ, Br1,640 at MZKT, and Br3,458 in Belaruskali's manufacturing division,” the official noted.

Valery Belsky pointed out that the majority of private companies continue working, securing their positions on the new markets that their competitors lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, Amkodor increased its output by nearly 1.5 times in H1 2020 and intends to raise the output by 2 times this year.

Several employees at Savushkin Product wanted to organize a rally, but the plans were cancelled after the human resources department said they had CVs from 200 people seeking employment.

Mining is hard work but salaries and state benefits are unprecedented. Miners work 35 hours per week and six hours per day. In addition to the main vacation of 24 days they are granted an additional one of 42 days. The law allows them to retire after 20 years of work. They get subsidies for meals. The company contributes money to their additional pension plans. “During their rally miners stated they would like to keep these benefits that nobody was trying to take away. But if the enterprise lacks money, keeping the benefits will be impossible. Money comes from sales. Sales come from production. If there is no production, there are no sales, there is no money, there are no social benefits,” Valery Belsky added.

“Protests have no good reasons but they have appreciable consequences. The economy and the social sphere work smoothly in the Republic of Belarus. The mechanism has been balanced over the years of state development. Disruptions in its work will bring nothing good to the Belarusian nation as a whole instead of representatives of some social group,” Valery Belsky concluded.

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