MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an instruction on what to do with companies left by foreign owners as he announced personnel decisions, BelTA has learned.
“If a foreign investor launched or privatized a company and a foreign investor got a company into ownership and then left (these are mainly investors from unfriendly countries and other states), tell them good bye, make a sign of the cross and thank them for leaving their property behind. We have it. Igor Petrovich [Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko], I told you this when I spoke about McDonald's. It keeps working. And customers keep coming. And their products are not bad. Yet, this is already our enterprise. If they do not want to work - well, it is up to them. Our people are smart enough, as I said earlier, to be able to cut this bun into two and put lettuce leaves or a piece of sausage into it. The same thing here. Everything was left. They didn't take anything with them. But had they taken something, the people in charge here would have had their heads off upon my order. No one should take anything away. You should not allow this,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
This topic surfaced when Dmitry Shabetnik was being approved for the post of chairman of the Svetlogorsk District Executive Committee. The head of state wanted to know how well he is familiar with the town and the district, with the operation of the biggest enterprises. Dmitry Shabetnik mentioned Svetlogorsk Plant of Welding Electrodes that suspended operations due to the departure of Ukrainian business representatives. The plant is now ready to restart, but the ownership issues should be addressed. “I think that next year it will resume operations if the plans to change the owner are materialized,” the official said.
“We have agreed on it. If Ukrainian, Polish or Finnish owners leave, the staff remains, technologies remain, facilities remain. We need electrodes,” the Belarusian leader noted. “Igor Petrovich, this is a striking example of brazen red tape and bureaucracy on your part and on the part of Golovchenko [Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko]. What kind of change of ownership are we talking about? I gave you instructions: if owners are leaving, good bye to them, we don't know each other anyone. The same moment the enterprise is nationalized. What are we still waiting for, what change of ownership? Is the government going to be dealing with such matters for half a year or a year?” the head of state asked.
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave Dmitry Shabetnik a clear instruction: “Consider that this enterprise is yours. And immediately implement this instruction upon arrival. Do not wait for any documents. Send them to the government. They will give you an answer. I think that following today's meeting they will change the owner for you before the new year,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The situation is similar with IKEA. “Ah, IKEA! .. Good bye! We will make these chairs and other things on our own. Or components for beds. They mostly produced components for kitchen sets, for beds, furniture. Are we unable to do the same? After all, they did not take anything away and the staff is here. If the owner left, let it be. There is a strong demand on the market, in Russia, Belarus and so on, we can produce these components and supply them as we did before,” the head of state said.
“Someone came and left ... Good. They invested, brought technology, be it IKEA or Ukrainians (they produced electrodes), brought equipment. They invested. A purely political thing: they were told to leave and they left. Good bye. It is a question whether they are welcome back,” the Belarusian leader said.