MINSK, 23 April (BelTA) – The government should step up efforts to fulfill major economic indicators, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the government conference to discuss priority measures to ensure the sustainable operation of the economy and the social sector amid the global epidemiological situation on 23 April, BelTA informs.
“We should not run to the extremes. We cannot stop the operation of key branches of the economy. And the life showed us in a 4-6 weeks that we were right. All sides are now talking more about the economy, about how we will live tomorrow, and that 350 million (this is a thin edge of the wedge) people will be starving worldwide. I brought the issue to a head 1.5 months ago. No one is criticizing me for it today. They start to change their minds and realized that they need to restore the economy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president mentioned a record decrease in oil prices: the price for oil is close to zero, this is unprecedented. “Therefore, the economy is a priority. We do not have other sources for life except for the work of our people,” the head of state stressed.
“According to the reports, the GDP reduced by 0.3% in Q1 2020. There cannot be and will not be any justifications for the decrease in the GDP. Therefore, you should step up efforts to fulfill the plans that we have,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Our small economy without a raw materials cushion had to deal with three blows at the same time.”
He explained that at the beginning of the year Belarus faced oil restrictions from the closest partner; then the existing economic ties were torn apart and borders were closed; and then the fight against COVID-19 began.
The president stressed that in these conditions we should do our best to hold out and prevent an economic decline. “We should do our best to keep people's trust in the current economic policy and to maintain stable prices, at least, for important goods and services,” the head of state added. The government should not interfere with the operation of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade. It's up to the minister and his employees to make decisions. The main thing is to ensure employment. We need to stimulate people and small business to work harder,” the head of state added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also remarked that in spite of a small GDP decline the real income of the population went up 7.1% in Q1 2020. “This is a good increase. I hope we will manage to keep it for the rest of the year,” he added.