MINSK, 3 August (BelTA) – Population increase is a priority for Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko said as he listened to the report on the demographic situation and the promotion of employment on 3 August, BelTA has learned.
“The human capital is our main wealth. Our population has been increasing in recent years. It is essential to preserve this trend and ensure an even bigger population growth. Belarus can provide for the population of 20 million people. Our main goal is the population of 15 million people. And either we or our children must solve this issue. People are important for the economic security of our country, are the strength of our country,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The president stressed that the state should be proactive in this field, forecast future processes and respond to them on time.
“Creation of conditions for promoting birth rate, employment of people, and their wellbeing are the main tasks for the government, local authorities. All civil servants will be responsible for the resolution of these issues,” he said.
Labor and Social Protection Minister Irina Kostevich said that Belarus' population exceeded 9.5 million as of 1 January 2017. It increased by more than 6,000 last year.
However, in H1 Belarus' population decreased by more than 9,000 from the beginning of the year. “Birth rate has fallen by 13% from the same period of the previous year, death rate increased by 0.8%. The situation around the birth rate decrease proves demographic forecasts. First of all, it is connected with the stable decrease in the number of women of reproductive age,” the minister explained.
In her words, realizing the projected situation, the government has taken certain measures. For example, child allowances were raised, a family capital program was introduced in 2015, measures to develop the housing loans program were taken, the range of services for families with children was expanded.
“The population responded to such measures. The number of children increased in families. Subsequent children accounted for 60% of all children in families in 2016. This share was only 47% in 2010. In 2016-2020, it is necessary to stabilize the number of the population at the level of 9.5 million. Therefore, the government will continue improving the system of state support for families with children,” Irina Kostevich said.