MINSK, 8 November (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has urged the government to be more proactive and praised the way they fulfilled his instruction on prices. The head of state made this statement as he hosted a meeting to discuss the bill that will amend the law “On the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus”, BelTA has learned.
“In recent years our government has gained a wealth of experience in overcoming crisis situations, like the pandemic and the current challenges. It will not be an overstatement to say that our government members, ministers can work in any government in any country. And they will lead the way, because they have taken their lumps so much that now they can handle anything. They have gained a great deal of experience,” the head of state said.
Nevertheless, Aleksandr Lukashenko wants the Council of Ministers to be more proactive and independent. “Even courageous in making decisions,” he said.
In this regard, the head of state again raised the issue of pricing, which he also mentioned as he talked to journalists the day before. “I want to be understood in the right way. It rarely happens that the government, when fulfilling the instructions of the president, does much better than expected. If we take price regulation as an example, we will see that prices dropped by 30-40% and maybe more for some groups of goods,” the president said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko cited the example of the Keramin company that reduced prices by about 30% for certain types of ceramic tiles: "Now there are queues. People hurry up to grab this product. As an economist I understand that they will make more money because they will sell more. Well, was it worth it to keep prices sky-high and rant and rave over it publicly. So it's not just Keramin with its ceramic tile. There are other products as well. This suggests that the government has gone further, and some have been forced to lower prices, as people say, to backtrack."
"I didn't expect that. But I support the government and the specialists who acted in a such a manner. This is a good demonstration to the people and specialists, economists, that prices were overinflated by about 30%. But I've always insisted on 25-30%. Let's tighten our belts by 25-30% and let people breathe. Then the situation will be completely different. This will be justice," the Belarusian leader said.
"Therefore, if someone made an assumption that I did not insist on price downward revision and that they may skip it, they are wrong. If we back down, this will be a catastrophe, because it will violate the system that has been set by the resolution of the government. We can't allow it to happen. It was a good step by the government in the right direction. I absolutely support them. We have sorted things out and are now fine-tuning the price setting mechanism in retail and industries. We can safely enter the new year with the inflation target of about 8%, not 19%, as we had this year," Aleksandr Lukashenko summed up.