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Alexander Lukashenko's State of the Nation Address (April 29, 2015)

Decline in inflation is a priority in Belarus, noted the head of state during his state of the nation address to the people and the National Assembly. Such a dialogue has become an annual tradition in Belarus. As the President said, it allows raising problems that require urgent solutions.

The meeting in the Parliament's Oval Hall brought together representatives of the government, heads of state administration bodies and the largest enterprises as well as diplomatic corps and media.

At present, inflation slowdown and price stabilization are among the important tasks of economic policies. Therefore, as the President said, the government and the National Bank should develop specific programs to address these issues.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Macroeconomic stability means normal business and the reduction of inflation is a priority for us.  People are worried about rising prices. But you know, we continually inflate these prices, meaning that people do not fully pay for utilities and power energy is poor and suffering... It is necessary to increase production, oil refining, other energy companies have to raise revenues, they are being modernized and thus don't have money to pay salary and so on and so forth... We need to stop this. We have almost all the prices under control. You saw the end of that year and beginning of this year. If we had to curb those who went too far, we did this without creating any structures, we did it in a quiet way, the whole vertical of power did. We took control of these prices. When we saw that we cannot hold prices too much, we cancelled that price freeze. Therefore, prices depend on us. But, of course, the main way to stabilize prices is to reduce the cost of products and services. There is no other way. Thus it is necessary to maintain the current level of welfare of the population, of which I spoke. So companies should not lower costs by reducing people's wages. This should be achieved by reducing the costs of other components of production. High inflation suggests ineffective use of money. It should pay off and then interest rates will be low and loans will become affordable. 

The head of state also raised problems in the effectiveness of economic management, use of budgetary funds, creation of favorable business climate, export diversification and mentioned the most pressing social issues.

The President also drew attention to the use of new approaches in the development of agriculture. Today, Belarus achieved significant success in this area. Belarus is almost completely self-sufficient in food, with imports standing at less than 10%. At the same time, it exports agricultural products to fifty countries.

However, it was underlined that private investment should be attracted to the agro-industrial complex.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
In recent years we achieved much in raising our villages. We fully ensure food security. We significantly increased the export potential of the industry turning it into an important source of foreign exchange earnings. 
The republic is the third largest exporter of butter and is among the ten largest exporters of milk. We are among leaders in terms of supply of cheese abroad. Our country has about 16% of world lands under flax. 
Nevertheless, the industry needs a new, more effective methods of its further development. The main thing is to work on the principles of self-sufficiency. With the decline of state support, you should rely on mechanisms such as competitive selection and pay-off period of projects, equal access to loans and other resources, responsibility for the implementation and fulfillment of the targets set.
It is necessary to intensify efforts to attract private investment to the village. Step it up: this work started long ago, we can do it. The Government should encourage investors, based on an individual approach to each of them in the sale of agricultural organizations. Another task is the implementation in agriculture of the latest achievements of science and best practices.

Belarus will not lose its independence in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). One of the topics discussed today was the Eurasian integration.

The treaty establishing the EEU was signed a year ago in Astana. And since January, our country has been a party of the new integration association. According to Alexander Lukashenko, it provides a variety of economic benefits. At the same time, Belarus will not lose its independence.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Our opponents are afraid that Belarus will lose its independence in this integration association. Such claims are absolutely groundless. You see it. We must not forget that Belarus' participation in the Eurasian integration processes in the capacity of a founder gives us a huge advantage. We have received economic benefits - I am not going to list them. Of course, the obtaining of benefits under the EEU is associated with the inevitable increased competition for our companies, they need to adapt to a more open economy.
When the treaty was about to be signed, we noted that the Belarusian side would follow closely the implementation of the agreements reached and progress of eliminating exemptions in transitional periods. Time has proved the correctness of this approach. The removal of barriers to mutual trade, waiver of restrictions on the movement of goods and services, of course, is a painful process for any state. Questions on energy, transport, financial services, and a number of other positions in all today's integration associations, including the European Union, has always been dealt with particular tension. But if we said there is no alternative to this integration, such a move should be on an equal footing. The establishment of a full-fledged regional economic integration organization that has international legal personality gives us perspectives for a fundamentally new level of interaction with the world's economic associations. Our common goal is to avoid new dividing lines in Europe and use the potential of constructive cooperation for the benefit of our peoples.
Despite the current worsening of the geopolitical situation, I think that our idea of
​​integration of integrations is still relevant and promising. In the end, we will come to the real convergence of the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union to build a Greater Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The presidency of Belarus in the EEU promotes the implementation of this idea.

In than 2.5 hours of communication, a variety of topics was raised. One of them touched upon the decree "On the prevention of social dependency."

The President has repeatedly stressed that it is directed against parasites and not against honest people who want to work and earn. At the same time, to avoid any mistakes and shortcomings before the end of the year the situation will be under special control.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
As regards social dependency, there should be adopted a thoughtful approach taking into account all the issues involved. The majority of people perform their constitutional duty, work and pay taxes. The state does not have any complaints against such people. However, some able-bodied people do not participate in the financing of public spending. At the same time, they all use social benefits on an equal footing. From the point of view of the majority of people, this approach is unfair. In order to ensure the fulfillment of the constitutional obligation of citizens to participate in the financing of public expenditure through the payment of taxes, duties and other payments the decree "On the prevention of social dependency" was developed and adopted on my behalf.  There has been much criticism. I am afraid that we have not made it properly. I have already instructed the Administration to listen and take into account every comment, even if our criminals or charlatans of politics express any comments. Anyway, you need to study them. Study, look and make sure we don't hurt honest people. We must not allow any mistakes.

During the meeting, a lot of social topics have been raised. For example, the presence of a sufficient number of kindergartens in districts. 

The President instructed the regional executive committees and Minsk City Executive Committee to resolve the problem of the provision of people with kindergartens. In some areas, it is necessary to build new institutions of preschool education, while in others it would be better to repurpose the existing ones.

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Alexander Lukashenko's State of the Nation Address (April 29, 2015)