GOMEL, 20 November (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko praised the recent progress made by the Belarusian harvester manufacturer Gomselmash during his visit to the enterprise on 20 November, BelTA has learned.
Explaining the reason for his visit to Gomselmash, the head of state said: “I wanted to see the progress the new management made in the implementation of the promises they gave to me at the time of the appointment [Aleksandr Novikov was appointed Gomselmash director general in March 2019]. I must say that both the new director and the chief designer are very good workers, a mixture of experience and youth,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
"I am very pleased that you are on the growth track. You may have had assistance but still it is good that you do not work for a warehouse," he said. “You make the products and commodities that the country needs. Some 75% of your output is bound for export. You sell it abroad and earn foreign currency."
The head of state stressed that all the enterprises that make part of Gomselmash, including Lidagroprommash and Gomel Casting and Normal Plant, are steady showing good economic results. Though, at a time of the establishment of the holding company, there were some concerns, especially about incorporating some loss-making plants into Gomselmash. “We have survived it, withstood it, and today you are doing well, and so are those enterprises,” the head of state said.
The head of state stressed that the main thing is to ensure high quality of products to keep them competitive. This comes of particular importance given the increasing global competition in the mechanical engineering market. “It is hard for you because there are plenty of harvester manufacturers across the globe. In order to sell, you have to work really hard to win the Russian market, and also Africa. We need to do this if we want to preserve our mechanical engineering sector. We need mechanical engineering, because it is the face of the nation,” the head of state said. According to the president, a number of other post-Soviet countries have either destroyed this industry or have never had it. They buy Belarusian equipment now.
“You did a great job on import substitution,” the Belarusian leader said, emphasizing that this way the country saves millions of US dollars. “I can name a lot of your successful steps. You have made great progress. The money that the government allocated to you was used properly,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Yet, the enterprise still has a number of problems. But the president is sure that it will be able to address them within 2 or 3 years if it continues to work as it does now.
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked the company's staff for their work, including at this difficult time for the country. “This year our farmers have accomplished the feat. While some were on the streets protesting (there were some protests in Gomel, especially at the beginning; some still go out on Sundays in Minsk), farmers worked from dawn to dawn. How could they work without you? You too have made a huge contribution to the harvest,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“Hold on to your jobs. You are not needed in any other country but here," the president said addressing the workers. He noted that with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the predictions he made in the spring proved right. "I said then: if we stop working, what shall we eat? This is what is happening. Today it turns out that Lukashenko was right - it is impossible to shut down the economy, and no one in the world has shut down theirs. They do not close to the outside world but many have stopped production," the Belarusian leader said. In this situation, according to the president, Belarus has increased food exports by 7% over 2019.
"The world has changed, but more is yet to come. This is why I ask you to be patient. The situation is very bad across the globe. This spills out into clashes that are happening around us and we have been affected by them too. The pandemic has made things even worse,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We have recently reached an agreement with Russia to postpone the repayment of a billion dollars this year (they have deferred our debts). We borrowed $500 million from them through the Eurasian bank. I thought we'd support engineering and other sectors. But we did not have a chance. We are using the money to treat people from Covid. People's health is the main thing, and you can't get away from it. Therefore, you have to be patient and brace ourselves. Next year will be a very difficult one,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.