/ News

Lukashenko, Council of Ministers discuss Belarus' socio-economic development

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is holding a meeting to discuss Belarus' social and economic development in 2019 and achievements in 2016-2020 on 17 March, BelTA has learned.

The traditional meeting at the Palace of Independence is attended by about 50 top-ranking government officials, representatives of the parliament and the Belarus President Administration, governors. The president explained that the main objective of the participants of the meeting is to look for ways to avoid previous mistakes using the accumulated experience to ensure that “a sovereign and independent country could exist”.

“The year 2020 is the last year in this five-year period. Therefore, apart from reports, I would like to discuss the results of the five-year period as a whole. I have thoroughly analyzed all materials and reports. Today we will listen to the authors of these reports. However, there is not much we can boast of,” the head of state said.

In his words, on the one hand, real disposable income of the population, including salaries, pensions, increased by 6%, inflation in the country in general stood at the level of 4.7%. In complicated conditions the gold and foreign exchange reserves were increased, the gross external debt was reduced. On the other hand, four out of seven crucial indicators used to assess the efficiency of the government and the National Bank were not fulfilled. This pertains to boosting export, the inflow of foreign investments, higher labor productivity and a bigger gross domestic product. “A 1.2% increase is, to put it mildly, a very modest result. The results of work of the economic staff (I also mean regions) in these directions could be more positive. These are basic issues which have an impact our sustainable development in the long run,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

The president said that salaries have been increasing at a higher pace than labor productivity for three years in a row. “How long will this trend be kept? Or does anybody believe that they can evade economic laws?” the head of state wondered.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the plans for 2019 had been prepared by the current composition of the government. In spite of alternative opinions, the head of state supported the proposals which had been submitted to him for consideration. “Therefore, at the meeting I want you to make fundamental assessments of your work and to share your vision of mid-2020 and late 2020,” the president added.

Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said at the meeting that in 2019 the government managed to preserve key macroeconomic proportions and ensure balanced development. He said that when the president appointed the new government he gave an instruction to ensure an increase in people's incomes. “Those efforts resulted in sustainable improvement of people's wellbeing. Starting from March 2019, salaries in the country have been above the level of Br1,000,” he said. As was promised, salaries in the budget-sponsored sector made up 80% of the average salary in the country, which is Br993. The government is doing its best to fulfil the task to increase salaries of doctors and teachers. Pensions soared by 20%, or by 13.4% if we take into account the inflation rate. This is the highest increase in the past five years.”