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26.02.2013

Belarus President warns businessmen against soliciting ‘protection’ in government agencies

MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – Belarusian businessmen should not attempt to find “protection” in government agencies. Such attempts will fail. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made the statement at the government session held on 26 February to discuss the operation of the Council for Entrepreneurship Development in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

“I would like you to clearly understand that any attempts of businessmen to influence government agencies for the sake of ‘protecting’ their good lives will result in the downfall of such initiatives and structures,” stressed the President.

Alexander Lukashenko pointed out that instead of lobbying for the interests of individual companies businessmen should exercise large-scale versatile constructive efforts. They should not solicit preferences and grants from the state budget. Instead the contribution of the private sector to the gross domestic product and better effectiveness of the Belarusian economy should rise.

“I would like to emphasize that if any businessmen finance ‘the fifth column’ or negatively influence the society in some way, I will regard it as their involvement in the political struggle, the struggle against the state. Such struggle has its own laws. Such businessmen should not complain afterwards,” said the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that businessmen should routinely participate in social programs. “Then people will respect you. And no one will have to talk about the negative image of businessmen,” believes Alexander Lukashenko.

The President said that he had specifically asked to set up the Council for Entrepreneurship Development without involving civil servants and officials except for the chairman in order to avoid a puppet council. “You are well-established businessmen. It is very important for me to hear your opinion about the most topical aspects of the social and economic policy. I am particularly interested in an alternative point of view, which differs from the point of view of the government and other officials,” said the head of state. Alexander Lukashenko remarked that he expected participants of the session to come up with proposals about general matters that the President has to deal with or should pay close attention to. “Piotr Petrovich Prokopovich has been appointed head of the council. He has a direct link to the head of state. So I ask you to be more active so that the country could get real benefits from your work,” said the President.

Alexander Lukashenko underlined that actively influencing the businessmen community is the most important task of the Council as well as raising the community’s awareness about the government policy in order to ensure an optimal combination of interests of the society and the businessmen, create conditions for a civilized market, support producers of commodities and services instead of profiteering resellers.

The President pointed out that the national economy modernization is not a task purely for the public sector. In his words, the entire Belarusian business and the largest number of foreign investors should be engaged in accomplishing the goal.

“The council was set up in its time to help fully reveal the positive potential of entrepreneurship, to encourage and support the establishment of effectively operating market structures, to resolve existing problems without red tape,” reminded the head of state. He noted that today he wants businessmen to come up with proposals about how the representative body can work more productively. “The decisions made today should radically improve the performance of the Council to make it match the highest modern requirements,” said the President.