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Belarusians promised favorable utility rates

MINSK (BelTA) – The problem of utility rates will be resolved for the benefit of the people. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement while talking to employees of the Belarusian confectionery factory Kommunarka on 18 March, BelTA has learned.

“We will do things in a way that benefits the people. I swear! If it cannot be done, I will tell you about it and will explain every figure and indicator. I will be on your side anyway,” noted the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko said that after the State Control Committee reviewed the cost of utilities, it turned out that the nation pays 40.2% of the cost instead of 30%.

“Belarusians will pay 50% of what utilities cost by the end of the year. We are not going to raise the rates and take more money from you. Instead utility service providers will have to cut down their prime costs and expenses,” said the head of state. “This is what you will get for now. In the near future I will sign the relevant decree although I have already given verbal instructions.”

“The formula is a simple one: everything must be paid for. If you don't pay the full price, then someone else has to pay the rest for you,” stated the President.

“Where are we going to get the second half? For now the state budget will cover the second half as subsidies to those who sell utilities to you: electrical companies, water companies, gas providers, garbage removal companies and so on,” said the President. “Belarus is a people-oriented state. We adopted the policy 20 years ago.”

“We would like [Belarusian households to pay] 50% by the end of the year, 75% next year, and 100% in two years,” noted Alexander Lukashenko. “Let's leave the year 2018 alone for now. We have yet to get there. Once we get there, we will see how much you pay. For now you are going to live with the utility rates you have now. We have adjusted some figures a bit.”

The President noted that next year the decision on utility rates will be made bearing in mind the economy's performance. “We may raise utility rates by 2% instead of 25% or we may even leave them alone. We'll see,” said Alexander Lukashenko. The head of state noted that Belarusians are often careless about saving resources. “People will start saving resources when they cost a pretty penny. But we have agreed to keep the rates as they are for now,” added the President.