MINSK, 10 March (BelTA) – In 2023 it is necessary not to simply compensate for last year's GDP reduction but transition to GDP growth. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement at a session of the Council of Ministers held on 10 March to discuss last year's economic performance and the accomplishment of priority tasks of social and economic development in 2023, BelTA has learned.
Chairwoman of the National Statistics Committee Inna Medvedeva presented a report during the session. She informed those present about the Belarusian economy's performance in 2022 and summary indicators and shared statistics concerning current problems.
In response to her report the head of state noted that a 4% decrease in the gross domestic product is a lot. “If it was 1-1.2%, it would be more or less acceptable from the political point of view and from all sides. 4% means you misunderstood what I told you: you and the National Bank stopped in the end of Q3-Q4 2022. It is necessary to restore everything and do better this year,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “Don't forget (we will pay close attention to it this year): the overall picture may look kind of fine but how many enterprises, how many thousands of people don't work well? The average temperature in the hospital is okay but how many underperformers do we have in the economy? This is why you will not be able to hide behind total, average figures.”
The president also drew attention to the excessive amount of manufactured vehicles, machines, and equipment in warehouses. “Ministers, heads of enterprises are trying to convince me they tend to create stockpiles at the beginning of the year and the rest. This stock in storage depletes floating assets. It is dead money if it is in storage. And then what do you mean by saying stockpiles? We calculate things as against the level of last year and previous years. And it is growth in dynamics. Why is this growth necessary? There can be no justification.”
Apart from that, Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded those present about the responsibility for loss of cattle: “Guys, men, governors! It will be hard for you. Nobody will try to convince you anymore. The minister will stand next to you or in front of you. He is a doctor, a veterinarian. You and the oblast governors will have to answer with your heads,” he stated.
The head of state also criticized the spending of granted loans. He remarked that money can be granted for suitable projects but no projects like that are suggested. “I saw it by looking at Russia. It's settled, we've come to an agreement with the president, money will be allocated. But when Russians ask Belarusians to give them projects and Russians are ready to grant $1.5 billion, the Belarusian side worked slowly for several months and failed to suggest projects worth $1.5 billion in the end,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.
During the session Chairman of the State Control Committee Vasily Gerasimov analyzed the fulfillment of social and economic development tasks and instructions of the head of state. In his words, there are a number of shortcomings in several areas.
Aleksandr Lukashenko warned participants of the session: “Results are what matters. You have to understand (and it is the goal of our meeting today) that you will be held responsible for results of this year to the limit. You will not be able to embellish things.”
The president remarked that woodworking industry and light industry were underperforming. Among other things close attention was also paid to the situation in the petrochemical industry, agriculture, preparation of machines and vehicles for the spring field work. Aleksandr Lukashenko once again reminded about his demand to organize vehicle repairs. “There are no machines or vehicles beyond repair. They must be restored,” he stressed.
The head of state was informed that the relevant work was in progress and virtually all the machines and vehicles across Belarus were ready for the field work. However, a number of agricultural enterprises may still have serious shortcomings in this regard. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the State Control Committee to tour the country in early April and give an objective evaluation of the actual results.