/ News

Leather industry described as strategic branch of Belarusian economy

MINSK (BelTA) – The leather industry is a strategic branch of the Belarusian economy, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the visit to the Minsk Leather Production Association on 23 March, BelTA has learned.

At the enterprise the president was briefed on the state and prospects of the country's leather industry and the development strategy of the Minsk Leather Production Association.

The large-scale modernization was carried out there a few years ago, but it turned out that the targets of the enterprises were not reached. The situation on the market had a huge impact on it. In the previous years, Belarusian footwear manufacturers had ambitious production plans, and the Gatovo tannery counted on that. However, those plans were not fulfilled, and the enterprise sold less leather than they expected. And in general, Belarusian manufacturers prefer foreign raw materials.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the leather industry and the animal husbandry industry in general are crucial branches of the economy, and they cannot be lost.

Chairperson of the Belarusian light industry concern Bellegprom Tatyana Lugina acknowledged that the industry is not efficient enough.

According to Vice Premier Yuri Nazarov, there is a proposal to set up a leather and footwear production and trade holding company under the auspices of one of the manufacturers. It will help solve all issues of the factory in Gatovo. “We have 78 consumers of leather. And you want to give all raw materials to one manufacturer. Where is fair competition?” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered.

Director General of Minsk Leather Production Association Olga Politiko said that the enterprise can satisfy the raw materials demand of Belarusian consumers. But the main obstacle is that the enterprise owes Br8 million for supplied raw materials to meat processing plants.

At the enterprise the president familiarized himself with technological processes of producing leather goods, study samples of finished and semi-finished products, and talked with the company's staff.

“It's time to respond – you are submitting proposals which rule out the previous decisions. None of the instructions were fulfilled,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “This is the industry – at one enterprise. It can process all hides in Belarus. Have you done it? No.”

Speaking about the proposals of the government, the president asked not to be obscure – this pertains to the privatization of the enterprise. According to the head of state, such initiatives should be, first of all, harmonized with the team of workers and then with local authorities. However, the employees voted against this decision, and the oblast executive committee had critical remarks.

Aleksandr Lukashenko listened to all the interested parties and instructed the government to support the enterprise in Gatovo: to allocate them Br8-9 million for debt repayment and also $2.5 million for the construction of purification facilities. The enterprise cannot operate well without the resolution of this issue.

“I will visit you next year, and I hope not to hear all this again,” the president warned.

During the meeting with the company's staff the head of state heard out reports on the performance of other tannery and the operation of the industry in general. He asked if there were any other pending issues.