MINSK, 4 March (BelTA) – No one prevents anyone from privatizing companies in Belarus, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with community leaders, experts, Belarusian and foreign media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.
The head of state emphasized that a certain procedure should be followed: at first, a company to be purchased should agree on this deal, after that the deal should get a go-ahead from local authorities. After that the government will submit its proposals to the president. “You can even get Radoman's collective farm [Agrokombinat Snov] and he will not even mind it. However, first of all, you should approach him, the company's labor collective (this is the order), after that local authorities will have their say and the government will submit a proposal to me,” the head of state explained. He emphasized that if business people seek to purchase a company into their ownership, they should put forward a clear business plan.
Alexander Lukashenko noted that he often hears suggestions to transfer agriculture into private hands. He recalled that he once took a lot of pains to help struggling collective farms. “I did not do it all at once. I gave them an opportunity to get back on their feet. One five-year period, another one, a third one. No results. And then I foisted some 25% of collective farms on some people. In other words, I virtually gave them to businesses, privatized,” the president said.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, he is not ready to throw the agriculture, which has not recovered fully, into hot water by transferring it into private ownership and stripping it of subsidies. The president cited Agrokombinat Snov as an example of a successful company. “The country's best company! Any businessman can be jealous,” Alexander Lukashenko noted. In his words, there are some other companies that are doing well even working to old-time methods. They get subsidies, but they can do without them. No private company can compete with such enterprises, the head of state noted.
Speaking about the very procedure of privatization, Alexander Lukashenko noted: “Indeed, it is true for Belarus that you cannot get a piece of land without the president's permission.” This is well-grounded, the head of state emphasized. The president recalled that in the past governors were authorized to do that. And it led to havoc. The head of state mentioned an incident when about 500 hectares of most fertile land was transferred to a foreign businessman. “What has he built there? Fifteen years have passed. I was forced to take this land from him, with an international scandal, reclaim everything and plant cereal crops there. After that (and cases like that were many) I had to give this right back to the president. Maybe, some think that the president should not be involved in that. But I simply cannot do otherwise, because if you delegate it to someone else, it leads to havoc. They start racing one another: the one who is stronger gets the deal, the one who is poor is out of the race,” the head of state noted.