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Commission to reform Belarus government agencies

MINSK, 1 October (BelTA) – A state commission will be created in Belarus to reform government agencies, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko as he heard out a report from Interior Minister Igor Shunevich on 1 October.

The press service of the Belarusian head of state quoted Alexander Lukashenko as saying: “It is likely that sufficient time has passed for you to get in touch with the situation and to clearly see the state of affairs in the Interior Ministry and subordinate agencies. You have shouldered the burden of reforming the Interior Ministry. I have already outlined the task in general terms. We don’t need to break down the Interior Ministry. We don’t need to rename it or do any other formalistic measures. We should calmly accomplish the reform by making several steps. If we are ready to make the first step in some direction, it means we should do it without destroying the framework, without disrupting operation principles of the police”.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the Interior Ministry operation should not be destabilized by the reformation effort. Moreover, the Interior Ministry operation should be improved. It should be more effective, remarked the President.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “The most important thing is that we should in no way offend Belarus’ finest. It is not some kind of a populist slogan. We just can’t. Because they will not go away, they will remain in our society. And they are the most influential people, the society listens to their opinion. Therefore, we should not offend these people in any way. We may ‘offend’ those, who don’t want to work, who betray interests of the service. You should fire them without regret. If someone made a mistake and joined the force without giving the job his best, they may start looking for another job”.

“We should leave a strong, healthy skeleton or even a fist in the Interior Ministry. Those people will do their jobs without much concern for money. Money is also important but policemen should primarily think about their service. I’ve already said that I take a dim view of the military, who start crying about salaries and apartments before speaking about their service and their duty. It is understandable that we have to take care of those problems and we will. But we should use a very careful approach while reforming the Interior Ministry, the subordinate bodies, and the police on the whole. No need to hurry. Not offending people is the key thing,” remarked Alexander Lukashenko.

The President also said that in the near future reforms will involve not only the police but other government agencies as well. “Today I gave instructions to set up a state commission. It will be chaired by the Head of the Belarus President Administration. President Aide Natalia Petkevich will be the chair’s deputy. They will put together the state commission to reform state administration bodies”.

“I think we will have to considerably downsize government agencies, by about 25-30% I reckon. Less trimming downstairs and more trimming upstairs while cutting away useless functions. After it’s done, money allowance and salaries of civil servants will be raised considerably. I mean the police, the military and so on,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “I understand we will not be able to accomplish the task right away but we have to start doing it. I am saying it because you should keep in mind that some agencies cannot be downsized in order to enlarge some other bodies of the Interior Ministry. You should keep in mind that our police bodies should be reduced to some extent down to the necessary level”.

“But right away we should think about increasing the power of the police. Neither a district police officer nor the minister nor other officers should visit the same pace dozens of times to convince someone. A police offer has to come once and use the clearly laid regulations to demand that a person must discharge his or her duties,” stated Alexander Lukashenko. “Then we will not need the numbers we have now”.

“The relevant power of officials in the police and out of it will increase. Then we will be able to considerably reduce the state machine, the police, other units and will be able to considerably increase money allowance and salaries. Otherwise, the nation will not accept an increase in salaries, let’s say, by half. The nation will not understand why they will continue getting small salaries while we will pay much more than the country’s average salary to the enlarged bureaucratic apparatus. Everything should be done honestly, objectively, and fairly. It is the future,” remarked Alexander Lukashenko.

“Maybe we will not have a district police officer and his aide like we planned. Maybe it is necessary to considerably increase the authority of the district police officer so that he doesn’t have to seek other leverage and other people to discharge his duties. I am personally ready to do it. And I think people will understand us. It is important to secure peace, calm in the society and safety of the people,” added the President.

Interior Minister Igor Shunevich informed the head of state about preliminary results of the reformation of the Interior Ministry and plans for the future. The process now follows three main avenues: ideology and human resources, reformation of the public security police, and the reformation of the criminal police. At the meeting Alexander Lukashenko gave instructions regarding future work in this area, with the main guidelines and stages in improving the police performance outlined. In the near future a dedicated government meeting will be held to discuss the matters.