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Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:24

Lukashenko meets with creative youth

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is holding a meeting with creative youth on 20 March. The event takes place at the Belarusian State Youth Theater, BelTA has learned.

There is an exposition of works and achievements of creative youth at the theater. It features the traditions and innovations in modern culture, visual, choreographic and music arts.

Partaking in the meeting with Alexander Lukashenko are about 270 people. These include students of national and regional educational institutions, representatives of popular art groups and young creative workers.

Among the participants of the meeting are laureates of the Belarus President's Talented Youth Support Fund, winners of regional, national and international festivals and contests, participants of creative projects, nationwide youth campaigns.

The participants of the meeting with the president took part in the 12th Delphic Games, the 4th Minsk International Christmas Singing Contest, the 5th International Folk Song Contest, the 6th national radio contest Young Talents of Belarus, the 26th international pop song contest in Vitebsk, the 1st Northern International Music Contest.

The meeting with the head of state is also attended by outstanding teachers. Their students became winners of international contests and are involved in productive creative work.

Municipal government agencies should pay more attention to the development of business in the regions, BelTA learned from Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov on 16 March. Andrei Kobyakov went to Gantsevichi District, Brest Oblast on a working trip on that day.

The head of government was informed about the social and economic development of Gantsevichi District, prospects of small and medium business, and the creation of new jobs. Ten micro and small organizations were established in the district in 2017. Andrei Kobyakov wondered how the local government agencies interact with the new enterprises, what support they provide, and whether constructive work with banks has been established. “If only ten enterprises were established in the district last year, then the chairman of the Gantsevichi District Executive Committee must know what they do, what their plans are, whether they are having problems or not so that the authorities could provide reasonable support. The creation of new jobs depends directly on it,” he noted.

For instance, transport companies are being established in Gantsevichi District. They intend to carry freight initially but could venture into passenger transportation later on. State-run and private transporters should enjoy fair conditions. “We don't want one type to reap all the benefits while the other one operates at a loss. We need reasonable balance. It is necessary to give a helping hand with enabling equal competition conditions so that consumers would win in the end,” believes Andrei Kobyakov.

The development of social infrastructure in Gantsevichi District was discussed during the working trip. The municipal government suggested building a sport facility. The head of government agreed that the district could use a modern sport center and gave instructions to run the plans by the Brest Oblast administration and think about sources of funding.

On 16 March Andrei Kobyakov visited the pipe manufacturer Zavod Modul in Gantsevichi District and the Gantsevichi large-panel housing construction factory. Andrei Kobyakov also visited the research and experiment facility Zhuravinka of the Central Botanical Garden of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, an OAO Lyubashevo farm, the Gantsevichi District Central Hospital, and the local blood transfusion station, which is the country's second best station after Minsk in terms of blood plasma processing.

After visiting the Gantsevichi District Central Hospital the prime minister gave instructions to improve the organization of healthcare.

There is no critical situation with external funding in Belarus, BelTA learned from Belarusian Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky on 14 March.

According to the source, as far as external funding is concerned, Belarus works tightly with the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Chinese financial institutions, and so on. “The only drawback we would like to address faster is the lack of projects we can lend money to,” pointed out the economy minister.

Speaking about a new program with the International Monetary Fund, Vladimir Zinovsky said that no active work on the progress is being done right now. “Nevertheless, we work with the IMF on Article IV. We participate in the relevant sessions twice a year,” he added.

The official noted that signing a new program with the IMF could send a good message to all investors and international finance organizations. Belarus understands that certain steps have to be made to make it happen, including steps to improve national laws.

As one of the conditions the program hinges on, Vladimir Zinovsky mentioned that Belarusian households have to start paying the full cost of utilities. “But we understand that we cannot achieve that in one go,” stressed the economy minister. He explained that the relevant level of salaries, monetary income of households is needed before it happens. Some countries, which have programs with the IMF, force their citizens to pay the full cost of utilities but in practice most of their people cannot afford it. Belarus does not intend to follow in their wake.

Besides, a number of problems in the real sector of the economy need to be addressed, including debts of enterprises.

Belarus is eager to implement all agreements with India at the highest level, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Outgoing Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Belarus Pankaj Saxena on 13 March, BelTA informs.

The president remarked that the Indian diplomat is one of the ambassadors who have made a big contribution to the enhancement of bilateral relations. In his opinion, Pankaj Saxena has made a lot to for the two countries to become closer.

The head of state pointed out the importance of mutual visits at the highest level. During those visits the two sides managed to conclude agreements aimed at expanding the Belarusian-Indian contacts.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian side is interested in Indian investments. “If you are interested, we have already said that we are ready to create conditions and preferences for setting up the Indian hi-tech park in Belarus,” he stressed.

The president also deems it necessary to set up joint ventures to produce a wide range of goods, including in mechanical engineering and agricultural machine building, with India. “There should be oncoming movement,” the head of state is convinced.

In particular, it is important to open joint ventures both in Belarus and India.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota on 12 March to discuss the preparations for the Supreme State Council session, BelTA informs.

“We need to discuss a number of issues in detail after the presidential elections and to analyze the situation. These are issues in the military and political cooperation, economic cooperation between the two states. I think that the Union State format is appropriate for it. Therefore, you and I need to discuss what topical issues can be submitted to the Supreme State Council for consideration and when we will be able to hold this session,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“We believe it would be great to welcome the reelected president of Russia and to hold the session of the Supreme State Council in Belarus at the same time. Therefore, we need to discuss this topic. Then we will offer the new president to meet in Minsk at the Supreme State Council session. We need to discuss certain things,” the Belarusian head of state said.

For this purpose, the governments of the two countries should focus on corresponding issues. “The issues that can be addressed by ministers and other government members should not be submitted to the level of the presidents,” Alexander Lukashenko added.

He also remarked that in terms of the presidential campaign in Russia various elites, interested persons and the society in general become more active. “We also feel this pulse in Belarus. Of course, all that cannot but have an impact on Belarus. And it is for the better. Because both the society and the economy become more active in the run-up to the presidential elections. So it is beneficial for Belarus because our economies are closely connected, there is high interaction. The main thing is to keep this pace after the elections. I think we can do it,” the Belarusian leader said.

Belarus and Russia are continuing negotiations on deliveries of Belarusian dairy products in Moscow, representatives of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry told BelTA.

The source explained that a Belarusian delegation resumed negotiations with Russian colleagues in Moscow on 5 March in order to find a solution to the problem of Russia's ban on Belarusian dairy imports.

BelTA reported earlier that the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor) has postponed the introduction of a ban on dairy import from Belarus to 15 March.

The number of products, which import to Russia will be banned, includes milk and pasteurized cream, sterilized and ultra-pasteurized milk and cream, milk powder, cream powder, concentrated, tinned, and condensed milk and cream, milk whey, concentrated milk protein, and other products.

Municipal government agencies should pay close attention to the development of the economy in the regions
The government must use the full potential of the country, all the top-ranking officials to achieve economic goals. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions during the government conference on 2 March, BelTA has learned. During the conference the central government, the central bank, the oblast administrations, and the Minsk city administration informed the head of state about economy performance in 2017 and the tasks meant to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that the current government had started working at a difficult time but it had managed to achieve certain results. “It would be wrong to say that this government is worthless and should be replaced,” said the head of state.

The president warned he would like to see dynamics in half a year. Among unresolved problems Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the commissioning of new enterprises, which had been built using loans. “They are supposed to recoup investments, loans need to be repaid while we still cannot commission them,” stated the head of state. Alexander Lukashenko instructed the government to take care of these matters. Alexander Lukashenko said he expected the Belarus President Administration and the aide, who is in charge of overseeing these processes, to do systemic work in this direction.

The National Bank of Belarus does not rule out the possibility that smaller steps will be taken to reduce the refinancing rate in 2018, BelTA learned from Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Sergei Kalechits on 27 February.

“As for the refinancing rate, we have already voiced the forecasts. They are stipulated by the monetary policy guidelines [down to 9.5% at the end of the year]. We believe that the situation will allow us to reach this level,” Sergei Kalechits said. He added that the decision on the size of further key rate cuts will depend on the economic situation. “Of course, the rate cuts are unlikely to increase in size. Most likely the rate cuts will be smaller because we are now dealing with reasonable numbers where fine-tuning is in order,” he explained. Previously the National Bank said that it might reduce the refinancing rate in steps as small as 0.25%.

Sergei Kalechits noted that when and how much the refinancing rate will be revised is a matter of tactics. “When considering matters of monetary policy, we always examine the matter of the refinancing rate since it is one of the key components. Each time we decide to revise the refinancing rate or not depending on an entire set of factors, the situation on the market,” he noted.

The last time the refinancing rate was reduced in Belarus was on 14 February when it was cut down from 11% to 10.5% per annum.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko urged law enforcement bodies not to focus on departmental statistics too much. He made the statement at the session of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus on 27 February, BelTA informs.

The head of state is convinced that departmental statistics should be used for analysis rather than for self-complacency. “You should focus on real problems rather than numbers,” the president said.

According to the head of state, the declared reduction in the crime rate by 7% per year raises concerns: “Maybe there will be no crime at all? There are doubts as to the objectivity of this rosy picture, although the interior minister always assure me that his goal is to exclude this ‘administrative statistics'. This is the way it should be. We need results,” the president said.

Alexander Lukashenko again drew attention to the shortcomings in the fight against corruption. “Unfortunately, not all law enforcement agencies work effectively. Extortions, kickbacks, machinations with budget money have still not been eliminated in Belarus,” the head of state noted. He asked the interior minister and the prosecutor general to report in detail on these matters.

According to the president, the emergencies bodies play an important role in the protection of citizens. Their activity needs to be further developed, he said.

“The government allocates huge amounts of funds to professional training and financial support of the ministry. In return, we expect results, rational and appropriate use of funds. You are responsible for the security and safety of people. I would like Minister Vladimir Vashchenko to report on the measures taken to improve the quality of work of the emergencies bodies,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

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