MINSK, 7 August (BelTA) – Measures to raise the efficiency of free economic zones is discussed at the government session held by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on 7 August, BelTA has learned.
According to the head of state, today such issues as the creation of highly-efficient jobs, enhancement of the intellectual, industrial and export potential are more important for Belarus than ever. The resolution of these tasks is inseparably connected with the attraction of investments to the country's economy.
“The government informs me that free economic zones make a considerable contribution to the social and economic development of regions and the country as a whole generating 4% of the GDP. Almost 13% of industrial production, about 16% of export and nearly 7% of foreign direct investments are concentrated there. Probably, this is a weighty contribution. But is it commensurable with the preferences given to resident companies of the free economic zones?” Alexander Lukashenko wondered.
The development of free economic zones was already discussed at the meeting with the president in December 2016 due to the changes in the customs legislation of the EAEU.
“Today the government puts forward new proposals which should allegedly stimulate the development of our free economic zones,” the head of state remarked.
Alexander Lukashenko asked if free economic zones are needed in there current form and if the measures taken at the end of 2016 were efficient and beneficial for Belarus' economy.
“Are the proposals enough for the development of free economic zones if we agree that they should be developing in a certain preferential, special regime? Are the proposals enough for the increase in foreign direct investments? Or will you come up with a new draft decree I the future?” the Belarusian leader wondered.
The law on free economic zones was passed in Belarus in 1998 as another instrument of setting up new modern enterprises. As of today, there are six free economic zones in the country. They have 409 resident companies with over 122,000 employees.
“All regions wanted to have their own free economic zones, and I agreed. We will see how they are working today,” the president said. “Back then people did not have jobs and we were trying to use every chance. Today we do not need just to employ people in free economic zones provide preferential regimes to enterprises. Employment is not a problem, we need highly-productive enterprises. Progressive enterprises should contribute to economic development. Setting up simple production facilities for making just bolts and nuts is good, but it does not comply with the level of our economic development.”