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from 07.02.2008

Belarus Government to raise economic growth targets for 2009-2010

Belarus Government to raise economic growth targets for 2009-2010

Belarus’ economic growth targets for 2009-2010 will not be lower than those for 2008. The targets may even be higher, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Industry Ministry board on February 7.

He remarked, in February-March the government will start considering social and economic development targets and the budget for the next two years.

Sergei Sidorsky asked heads of industrial companies to formulate their proposals concerning business prospects in 2009-2010. “We expect you to produce specific proposals,” said the Prime Minister.

The Belarusian Government intends to raise the average salary target for late 2010, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Industry Ministry board.

By 2011 the average salary in Belarus is supposed to reach an equivalent of $500. “We intend to revise and considerably increase the figure”, stressed Sergei Sidorsky. He explained, the country’s economic growth pace should be substantially boosted to carry out the plans.

The farm machines procurement order for the 2008 harvesting campaign should be ready in February, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky stated at a session of the Industry Ministry.

According to him, over Br1 trillion is allocated this year for fulfilling the order. Additional Br500 billion will be assigned as well. The ministries and agencies are now coordinating the volume and structure of the purchases.

“We will be buying equipment but not as much as we used to, Sergei Sidorsky said. We will not set out the targets in terms of saturating the domestic market of farm machines. We give you an opportunity to build up export potential.”

The Prime Minister also said that in the future “the state will be investing less in the industries and companies which cope well with the task on their own.” The main goal of Production Associations Gomselmash and Minsk Tractor Works as well as other producers is to increase exports of farm machines, the Prime Minister said.

Belarus is in talks with foreign companies in order to start up the domestic production of LCD panels for TV sets, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said.

He noted, the project is very important for the country. Its accomplishment will allow raising the competitive ability of the domestic electronics industry and attracting foreign investments.

Yet Belarusian TV makers missed the good time to implement the project, stressed the Prime Minister.

Sergei Sidorsky demanded effective performance of OAO Horizont and RUP Vityas. In his words, so far these companies have a lot of debts and losses. Besides, the head of Government believes, they do not work hard enough to design new competitive TV sets.

The Belarusian Government expects companies to come up with more tangible results from scientific projects they carry out, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told a session of the Industry Ministry board on February 7.

“We need tangible and breakthrough achievements in microelectronics, nano and biotechnologies and other areas,” stressed the Prime Minister. He also added, at least 80% of scientific achievements assimilated in Belarus should be homemade. Last year’s performance indicates the present efforts are insufficient and in 2009-2010 closer collaboration of the science and production companies has to be established.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, 2007 was successful for the Belarusian industry. The industry reached major goals and outperformed significantly some of them. Yet the Prime Minister named several issues the Industry Ministry failed to resolve in 2007. In particular, he mentioned slowly growing production and sales of Belarus-made household appliances, fixed-capital investments as well as insufficient export build-up efforts of certain companies. According to Sergei Sidorsky, in future special attention should be paid to the development of electrical, optical and mechanical, and television industries in order to boost the competitive ability of their make.

The Prime Minister also stressed, the government is displeased with the amount of foreign investments the country attracts. Poor cooperation of corporate CEOs with potential investors was named among key reasons. “You don’t cooperate with companies, don’t work with investors. You haven’t learnt how credit resources should be used inside the country. Take projects, bring them to the country, establish enterprises,” Sergei Sidorsky told top officials of the Industry Ministry. The government is also dissatisfied with the progress of implementing business plans at several industrial companies.

Sergei Sidorsky drew special attention to the necessity of taking immediate measures to increase Belarusian export and carry out the import substitution programme. In his words, at present many directors of companies fail to see that the foreign trade demand for their make largely exceeds actual supplies. For example, experts believe that in 2007 Belarus might have supplied extra $30 million worth of products to Ukraine. The export potential of agricultural machinery supplies to Kazakhstan was not fully utilised. Speaking about the creation of a commodity distribution network abroad, the Prime Minister underscored, Belarusian producers have to use their property participating in projects for setting up parts of such a network.

According to the Prime Minister, the Industry Ministry and the Education Ministry will have to work together to decrease the shortage of highly qualified personnel. Sergei Sidorsky believes, the adaptation of new workers is slow. Outmoded equipment is used for on-the-job training of new employees. University and college graduates have to handle new equipment when they start working full time, which brings the need for additional retraining.