MINSK, 2 December (BelTA) – Key Belarusian state-run companies may be hypothetically privatized. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement in a recent interview with Dmitry Kiselyov, Director General of the Russian state news agency MIA Rossiya Segodnya, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “If I see that they will disappear, I will be categorically against such a privatization.”
The president explained his stance using Belarusian MAZ and Russian KamAZ as an example. “I didn't oppose the merger of these enterprises. But I was dead set against our MAZ, which makes quality vehicles, becoming an auxiliary branch of KamAZ. It is what I opposed,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he suggested setting up the joint venture first and shelving the matter of ownership for later. “Modernization, manufacturing improvement, and the target market are the key. We will set up the joint venture, polish the target markets, and take a look at modernization. Russia is richer, it can lend money to MAZ so that it could get better and catch up in some areas,” the president noted. “You may have to catch up to MAZ's standards in some parts and MAZ may have to catch up to KamAZ's standards. And modernization is necessary. You have more credit opportunities, which appeals to us. You could support this industrial group, the joint venture. After it works for 3-5 years, we will see where we are. Markets are what matters. We don't want barriers for MAZ in Russia and barriers for KamAZ on the Belarusian market. And we will use the common stance outside our Belarusian-Russian union – in Vietnam, China, and so on.”
The matter of ownership can be addressed only after that, Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested. “If we see that it has been effective, then we will cut up the assets, divide, and privatize. What's unwise about that? You know, both Dmitry Medvedev and Putin agreed to it back then but your executives below that did not agree. They wanted to privatize 30%, 20%, and so on and so forth. Stop. This is not how we do things around here,” the head of state said.