MINSK, 14 February (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the go-ahead to the request to provide additional financial support to Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ trademark), but demanded that terms of the bailout should be clearly defined. The financial performance of the company was discussed at Aleksandr Lukashenko's meeting with the leadership of the Council of Ministers on 14 February, BelTA has learned.
The head of state was asked to restructure about half of the company's debt. Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to a large amount of receivables, that is the money that the company has not yet received for delivered equipment. If the company received this money, it would probably not need any support.
On the other hand, it is necessary to clearly define the conditions of debt restructuring so that the repayment period will not be too long. After all, it is important to take into account not only current needs of the enterprise, but also the interests of the state. Therefore, the repayment schedule should be realistic, but tight.
“You need the president's signature to get this money for ten or so years. I am not Father Frost!” noted the Belarusian leader.
Officials' reports suggested debt restructuring for the period of 15 years. “Why not 30 years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked with a degree of sarcasm.
Addressing Deputy Prime Minister Pyotr Parkhomchik who oversees the manufacturing industry, the president asked: “Why didn't you approach me asking for money when you worked at BelAZ [Pyotr Parkhomchik ran BelAZ for a number of years]?”
“Because the company was making money,” the vice premier replied.
“Why doesn't this company make money?” the head of state asked a fair question. “Why should I take it [money from other sectors] and give it to you?” the head of state continued.
Aleksandr Lukashenko once again explained why he takes such a principled approach to this issue. In fact, if put simply, restructuring looks like this: “You owe me some money. And I agree to give you 10 years to return it. But I need this money in the budget. And not only in the budget. You probably took out bank loans. And loans are money from the budget and people.”
Industry Minister Aleksandr Rogozhnik spoke about the need to launch another investment cycle at the enterprise, because for a number of reasons it has not invested its funds in economic activity for several years. In addition, in the current conditions, including against the backdrop of the sanctions, there is a unique chance to step up operations on the Russian market. “We managed to come to an agreement with Russia, with KAMAZ. They unified all the nodes. That is, KAMAZ makes products for MAZ, and MAZ for KAMAZ. They stopped fighting. Today we have access to the market of the Russian Federation. I have brought you here to highlight this unique opportunity to work, and you have come to me for money,” the Belarusian leader said.
As a result, Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an instruction to prepare the final draft of the document taking into account the requirements that were voiced at the meeting.