Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was on a working visit to the Mogilev region. The Head of State visited the free economic zone where about 40,000 residents work today. He also visited the company Kronospan, where wood boards are produced. This is where Alexander Lukashenko was reported about the social and economic situation of the entire region.
There isn’t a plant like this anywhere else in Belarus. The uniqueness is in the plant’s product. Oriented structural boards are produced there. The only producer in Belarus and the largest in the world.
As many as 645,000 cubic meters were produced in 2016. It is planned to increase the production to 700,000 cubic meters in 2017.
Such MDF slabs are used to manufacture furniture and build frame houses. Wainscoting, walls, floors and ceilings. The material is very strong and under the same load it substitutes thicker wood laminated plastic. It also stands out for its high level of heat and sound proof and a low level of swelling.
When MDF slabs are produced, twice the amount of wood is necessary unlike with the production of plywood.
Roman Bakhunovich, planning engineer at Kronospan OSB:
First of all the company’s MDF slabs are eco-friendly, secondly they are strong, and thirdly they are cheaper in comparison with other building materials.
The production line began in Mogilev in 2014. From 2010 Austrians have invested nearly one billion dollars into the company.
In the next couple of years they are planning to invest another $300mln.
The transnational company has trading platforms in nearly 30 countries. There are two in Belarus, the secod one is in Smorgon. Besides manufacturing MDF slabs, the production of formalin and phenolic resins was organized.
Gints Grinevich, Deputy Director on investing activities at Kronospan OSB:
At the moment the plant Kronoconstruction is being built. New working places will be created. A sustainable investor and high tech production is the very case when all the interested parties are in an advantageous position. New working places and growth of export. It is a rather good example of a timber manufacturing plant.
On March 21, 2017 Alexander Lukashenko visited the company Kronospan.
The main requests of Belarus President are reliability, due diligence and, of course, the priority of state interests.
The plant is ready to develop innovative ecological materials are in trend today and the demand on them will grow. Belarus is always ready to let conditions to sustainable investors, but considering its interests first. For instance, equipment must be made in Belarus and it must be spotlessly clean in the gross leasable area.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
I want the critics, who were discommending me for making a decision to modernize the timber manufacturing plants some 10 or more years ago, to hear me today. Why did I make such a decision? Because forests in Belarus were rotting and, having a treasure like this, we couldn’t process it properly. This is why a decision to modernize was made. Besides all the undertaken measures, foreign investments were attracted.
Here is an example of foreign investments. This is where some questions were set before me by the directors. The first question is to work for a long period of time. They are asking for forestlands for a period of 10-20 years, so that they could stock up with wood for themselves and process it here as well. I only have one condition. Please, Belarus has massive areas, which cannot be developed.
Hold this land on lease, little by little at first, and show how you will be working there.
A forest is not a desert. Forests mean roads, cultivation of forests, and recovery of forests, which were once cut down. If they have taken such responsibilities, and they will work in Belarus, then welcome. We will be happy to work with them and rent out certain forestlands for them, so that they can make use out of these forests and then tidy everything up and plant new forests once again. So that in 80-100 years our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren could live and process these forests.
During this time, over a thousand jobs have been created here, while the average salary is $650.
Alexander Bazaev has been working as an operator at the plant for three years now. He controls the technological process via monitors.
I have been working here for about three years now. When I found out that the plant has vacancies, I decided to give it a go. The plant is big and the salary is higher in comparison with my previous job.
As for the economic performance, there are positive dynamics, but a lot remains to be done.
You were set a task of 100% to the level of the previous year. As many as 2.5% lower are expected. So how did you plan it and today you replaned it, so it will be 2% less? If you fail this year, all the performances, than nobody will work.
You can either have a grudge against or not, but no matter what, but these tasks must be fulfilled.
Otherwise you will fail all the three tasks of social orientation, which have been cascaded by me. Pricing, unemployment, which exists in Belarus, people should be employed, and the salaries. In what way will salaries appear if there is no production? That’s why you report so lively that everything is fine, but you should consider that if something goes wrong during the first quarter or half year period, then it will be a catastrophe, and following the results of the year I will undertake all the necessary measures. Starting off with the assistant and ending with the heads of regional executive committees.
The free economic zone plays a certain role in the development of the region. From the beginning of 2017 the plant lost some benefits in accordance with the custom regulations of the EAEU, nevertheless measures were undertaken on the governmental level to compensate the losses.
By the way, this is where the infrastructure as communication routes was established.
There are conditions, which mean that there’ll be new investors and a growing export, because the free economic zone residents are primarily aimed at external trade.
Andrei Yartsev, Head of the Free Economic Zone Mogilev administration:
By 2020, when all these plants will be working full out,
the annual export from this platform will sum up to about 600 million dollars. And as many as 1000 new working places will be created.
Alexander Lukashenko was also interested in the process of the sowing season.
Just keep it in mind, if I only inspect on the agricultural equipment safety and something is not like as it should be, blame yourselves.
The demands are strict. They concern all the participants of the economical process. Both government and private organizations must cooperate and provide positive dynamics in the region’s development. The Rules of the game on the Belarusian market must be set only in accordance with the state interests. The period for conducting the foremost tasks has been determined.
After visiting the plant, Alexander Lukashenko’s working visit came to an end. Belarus President headed off to Kopys, where he got acquainted with the process of the agricultural process. It was discussed at a Presidential meeting the previous autumn. Then it was decided to unite a couple of agricultural settlements into an export oriented holding with a full cycle of production.