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12 December 2022, 12:23

Corporate IT units might claim HTP-like preferences in Belarus

MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – If necessary, IT-units of companies might be provided with the same preferences as those enjoyed by the High-Tech Park, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting dedicated to new appointments in Minsk on 12 December, BelTA has learned.

The head of state addressed Aleksandr Botvinnik, who has been appointed to the post of General Director of the open joint stock company “Minsk Motor Plant” Holding Managing Company. Until now, he worked as the First Deputy General Director of BelAZ, where he was in charge of strategic development, innovation and information technology.

"There is an opinion that the park has played a positive role in the development of information technology in the country. But today, any enterprise, the Academy of Sciences, educational institutions have sufficient competencies in information technology. If God forbid something happens to the park, then our real production sector, the social sector will be able to do without it, developing our own information technologies. What is your take on this and how developed information technologies are today, for example, in industry?" the head of state asked.

Using BelAZ as an example, Aleksandr Botvinnik said that all the software had been developed domestically. “We did not engage any specialists, companies to develop this software, thus ensuring our information security. BelAZ is also considering to set up its own company, a HTP resident, in 2023-2024 in order to obtain the appropriate tax benefits. In case the Hi Tech Park does not exist, we can do all the necessary developments by our own efforts,” he said.

In this regard, the president instructed to consider the ways to provide necessary benefits and working conditions to corporate IT units without the need to be an HTP resident. “Igor Petrovich [Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko], tell the government not to drag them to the Hi-Tech Park. We can provide them with the relevant benefits that we can offer today and that exist in the HTP. There is no need to register there, drag your specialists there, or register and work on the premises of BelAZ. There is no such need. No one needs such a practice. Let them work within BelAZ, for example, or MAZ, or MTZ. We will provide them with appropriate incentives for IT development,” said the Belarusian leader.

“Can we do this?” the head of state asked Aleksandr Botvinnik.

“Yes, we can,” he replied.

“The Hi-Tech Park gave some impetus to the development of this area in Belarus, especially in personnel training and so on. But we can do without it,” the president said. He asked Aleksandr Botvinnik what, in his opinion, the main disadvantage of HTP, which should be mended as a matter of priority. “The creation of product lines,” the specialist replied. “We have long studied the issue of interaction with HTP, we have repeatedly met with its representatives, but, unfortunately, the residents were mainly focused on the development of products outside the Republic of Belarus. Meanwhile, the development of a full-fledged finished product that will later be in demand inside the country and have a sufficiently high export potential gives higher margins,” Aleksandr Botvinnik said.

In other words, the park's residents were engaged in creating software for some foreign companies, neglecting similar projects on the domestic market. “It [HTP, or to be more precise, its resident companies] was a contracting organization that participated in the development. In other words, it was not the owner of the final software product,” the expert said.

Using the example of BelAZ, he explained that a modern hauler is a sophisticated hardware and software system. The engine, the control system and a large number of sensors and electronic components are controlled by the on-board software.

If we now set a tough task for HTP resident companies, both current and future, to create a finished product, in other words, to give them a detailed task – to be product-oriented... Will this be the right task for them or will they not be able to solve it, or they are not interested in it?" Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.

"They will be able to do it," Aleksandr Botvinnik said. He believes that HTP companies can create products for both domestic market and also for export.

The president inquired about BelAZ's personnel capacities in IT. The head of state was informed that about 120-130 people, including designers, participate in R&D. Aleksandr Botvinnik noted that BelAZ intends to create new innovations in terms of production of electric drive and other electronic components. Thanks to them, the company will be able to increase margins. "Thus we will be able to be more flexible in terms of production costs and thereby influence the ‘brain' of a rock hauler – its control system," the specialist said.

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