PUKHOVICHI DISTRICT, 4 November (BelTA) - The Belarusian government is controling the situation on the country's consumer market, and the recent price regulation efforts will not entail any deficit, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the workers of the Belarusian National Biotechnology Corporation on 4 November, BelTA has learned.
The head of state was thanked for the recent price control measures and was asked if the domestic market can face any deficit and empty shelves.
“You have nothing to worry about,” the Belarusian leader said. He noted that a deficit is created only when there is a shortage of products. Belarus is self-sufficient in food and the country's annual food exports reach several billions of U.S. dollars.
“Do not worry about any deficit. This issue is under the control,” the president said.
He also warned those who would try to leave the market: “Some say they will leave. Before you leave, you will have to call those fugitives in Poland and in Lithuania to ask if there a place for you there. And you do not know how many of them are begging to get back here. I do not forbid anyone to return. But if you are guilty, you will be held accountable. Some are quietly coming back. They are all our people, after all.”
There are however those who are trying to commit terrorist attacks in Belarus today, and it is important not to let our citizens suffer, said the Belarusian leader.
Returning to the statements about the possible withdrawal from the market, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Here are some members of the government [present at the ceremony at the BNBC] who control this process. If only someone – be it a businessman, a shop manager or someone else - quits his or her job on purpose, they will go to prison. Why? Because by doing so they will try to destabilize society. If you take up this or that job, then do it. The government let you open a store, helped you with loans and so on. You cannot just close it and leave.”
Apart from private chains, the country's trade sector features a large public segment, there are a lot of convenience stores. “They are not going anywhere. They are happy with everything. There are just certain individuals who voice dissatisfaction. We know them all,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He mentioned the facts of a huge disparity in salaries between shop managers and employees. “Everything should be based on fairness, which is not an economic category, but is still very important for people. There are certain rules. Markups as much as 30-40% and even 50% for some items are envisaged in the trade sector. What else is needed?” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
“Some of them are living in Italy, in France, have bought villas there. As for sole traders (I have recently looked into the matter), some of them, they say, stopped working, stopped bringing in goods. They are doing this without documents. It is already a crime. We started looking into the issue. I was briefed that some of them have two apartments in Novopolotsk and three more in Minsk. I am talking about sole traders here. Go work to the BNBC. Here are cutting-edge technology and also high responsibility. You have to work hard here. Every day, from morning till night,” said the head of state.
The president stressed that he is not against sole traders, and if their goods are purchased this means they are needed. He added however that everyone should work according to the established rules: “If you bring goods – present the corresponding documents, certificates. Our light industry pays taxes, have all necessary documents and certificates. I am just trying to regulate and put everything in order here,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed once again that there was no need to worry about any deficit. Apart from warning those who want to leave the market deliberately, the president voiced another message for business representatives: the state is ready to listen to any existing problems they have and try to find a solution. “If you have any problem, the government, the ministry is ready to meet you already tomorrow (if you, for instance, have questions about prices). We will count everything, we know how to count,” he said.
"I do not want to put pressure on anyone. There is order, there are rules. If you are ready to work, then work. If don't, you are welcome here, at the BNBC, if you are lucky to be hired. Nature abhors a vacuum. You leave, someone else replaces you. And others offer lower prices,” the president said.