MINSK, 11 April (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko approved the draft legislation on developing the Hi-Tech Park through unconventional approaches that has been submitted for his consideration, BelTA learned from Director of the Hi-Tech Park Administration Vsevolod Yanchevsky after the conference hosted by the head of state.
Vsevolod Yanchevsky said: “The Belarusian IT industry is in a complicated situation because, on the one hand, there are universally acknowledged risks, challenges, and problems arising from the overall situation around our country. Those are unpleasant things but totally obvious because the country and the IT sector are experiencing pressure and it creates many problems. On the other hand, the global IT industry is also experiencing a crisis. We see a huge decrease in capitalization of many companies. There are massive staff layoffs even in IT corporations and so on.”
The official went on saying: “I mean some problems are multiplied by other ones. This is why, of course, IT companies are having a difficult time. Once again traditionally, as he does it year after year and five-year term after five-year term the head of state expressed support to our IT sector, the Hi-Tech Park, and IT companies. And not with words but with deeds and decisions. The president met us halfway and approved [the submitted proposals]. His warm attitude [towards the IT sector and towards the Hi-Tech Park in particular] that everyone has been able to observe for years remains in place.”
Vsevolod Yanchevsky said he was confident that IT companies will also reciprocate and will benefit the economy and the country despite all the current complications.
In his words, in addition to overall IT topics the conference also touched upon trends in the development of artificial intelligence technologies and prospects of Belarusian companies in this rapidly growing and advanced field. The Hi-Tech Park administrator noted that there are plenty of companies in Belarus, including startups, which specialize in this sphere and have yet to prove themselves.
Vsevolod Yanchevsky said: “The conversation touched upon this sphere among other things as well as artificial intelligence and the companies, the products related to it. I think the decisions the president made, is making, and will make will support not only the IT industry and the Hi-Tech Park as a whole but also artificial intelligence as one of the most promising and significant areas of today.”
Describing the current state of affairs in the Hi-Tech Park, Vsevolod Yanchevsky stressed that despite multiple attempts to “bury” the park it continues operating and tens of thousands of programmers work in Belarus and new resident companies get registered in the park. “The Hi-Tech Park still makes a significant, serious contribution to export, to the GDP, and to the economy of the country,” the official is convinced. To confirm his words, he mentioned an interesting fact: “Despite all the crisis phenomena there is one very interesting indicator. Hi-Tech Park companies paid more in taxes in several months of this year than they did last year [in the same period of last year taking into account the tax preferences granted to Hi-Tech Park companies]”. According to the park administration, in 2022 export by Hi-Tech Park companies was close to $2.5 billion while tax payments amounted to Br750 million.
BelTA reported earlier that draft presidential decrees on developing the Hi-Tech Park were discussed at the conference hosted by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 11 April. “I have received draft legal acts on the development of the Hi-Tech Park. The approaches they suggest are unconventional. But this sector almost always requires some creative solutions," the Belarusian leader said.
The president stressed that this is about a new lease on life and the new horizons that were previously inaccessible for the park and the entire Belarusian IT industry. “We need to tap into new markets, replace Western investments with Asian ones,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“In general, a good product will always be in demand. It will be bought no matter what obstacles, fences and hindrances there may be,” the head of state added.
In his words, today it is necessary to once again discuss the proposals and come to an agreement on bringing the legal base in line with the decisions that have been made. “I would like those present to tell me how we can speed up the work as much as possible and when we will get concrete results,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.