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Belarus government under fire for woodworking industry modernization failure

BORISOV, 30 November (BelTA) – The Belarus government and the management of enterprises have failed the program aimed at modernizing the woodworking industry. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he visited OAO Borisovdrev on 30 November, BelTA has learned.

The head of state said: “These gigantic projects for the woodworking industry are tied to the diversification of our economy. I made this decision to make us less dependent on the ‘big brother’, on the West, the Americans. Instead we should use our own resources: construction materials, cement, agriculture, potash fertilizers, including the woodworking industry. The entire project for modernizing the woodworking industry has been failed”.

Alexander Lukashenko asked Mr Sergei Ivanov, Chairman of the Belarusian state timber and paper industry concern Bellesbumprom, about reasons behind the failure. In turn, Sergei Ivanov remarked that the enterprises had not been ready for this work. In his opinion, the deadlines have been delayed because Belarusian design organizations are weak. “Why did you have to bring me the decree on deadlines and other things if you weren’t ready?” the President asked the reasonable question.

You should have completed it in 2009. It is the year 2012 now [and you need] two more years. Minus five years in total. If you weren’t skilled and weren’t ready, you should have employed 5-10 foreigners. It would have cost us less,” reproached Alexander Lukashenko.

“Should we leave the minister [Architecture and Construction Minister Mr Anatoly Nichkasov] here? He may complete the construction of the factory. He should be responsible if he is the one to have failed the construction project,” said the head of state. “We will have to look at Vitebsk, too. Maybe he will have to go there and get things going. If he cannot do it in the ministry, he should get things organized on site”.

“I will visit Mogilev and Vitebsk. I am afraid that we may leave half of the government there. Therefore, we have to straighten things out to avoid losing them,” stated the President.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “Will I have to once again visit the enterprises and get these factories commissioned in one-two years?”

Speaking about the delays of modernization deadlines, Alexander Lukashenko stressed that not only members of the government and the administration of the enterprise were to blame. The lack of discipline among blue-collar workers is often to blame. This is why the President urged to strictly follow workplace discipline rules at enterprises. “Young people, skilled and willing to work, should come and work here. It won’t do if the President has to come here and force people to work,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

Alexander Lukashenko told his aide Mr Piotr Prokopovich to constantly keep an eye on the implementation of projects in this sphere. Every enterprise, not only woodworking ones, should have a modernization plan of its own. “It cannot be questioned. It is up to them [the government] and [Chairwoman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus] Ms Nadezhda Yermakova to decide where they will get money. Don’t argue with them about interest rates and so on, it is their business. Your business is to keep them on schedule and keep the modernization going. They have promised to get the most of it done in 2015,” the head of state instructed Piotr Prokopovich.

“Let’s do it like people we are. We are on a tight schedule, we don’t have spare time. We have to get things modernized to make normal products,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

Addressing Anatoly Nichkasov, the head of state remarked: “I advise you to deal with all problems before I arrive in Gomel, Mogilev, Vitebsk, Mozyr so that you don’t have to go and work at Vitebskdrev”.