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Lukashenko: Inefficient agricultural companies will be privatized

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has warned that poorly performing agricultural companies will be transferred into private ownership if they do not start operating in the black half a year from now. The head of state made this statement on 14 July as he heard out a report of Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich who leads the working group on improving the state agricultural policy, BelTA has learnt.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that agriculture in Belarus not only can be self-sufficient, but can also make good money.

“The prices for wholesale and retail agricultural produce are high enough to allow agricultural companies to operate without government support and to make profit, as the government injected a huge amount of money into the agricultural sector during the two previous five-year periods. Agricultural companies - collective farms, state farms – who want to make money, are successfully making it already,” the President noted.

“We have agreed that we should support those who are able to reach the breakeven point and work on their own today. Those who are unable and unwilling to do it will be given some time (till the end of the year at least) and if they fail, they will be sold to those who want to work. Therefore, they should think it over and make decisions,” the head of state emphasized. Alexander Lukashenko added that heads of poorly performing companies will no longer work there.

Alexander Lukashenko reminded that this matter has been raised multiple times, including on the level of the head of state. The commission set up to deal with issues in the agricultural sector has submitted draft regulations aimed to remove the bottlenecks in the domestic agriculture. “We have agreed that you will calculate all this and taking into consideration the difficult financial and economic situation in our country and the world, we will decide whether we will be able to go for the measures suggested by the commission,” the head of state said. In his words, those are quite dramatic measures that will be costly for agriculture. “Therefore, I do not want a formal approach, but I would rather have an open and honest discussion. I would like the government to take over the commitments it can handle,” the President said.

He emphasized that the cost is not the point. The point is whether the state will be able to handle such a heavy financial burden.