President Lukashenko spoke on employment and new jobs created with the participation of foreign capital in Belarus during his working visit to the Mogilev region. Yulia Beshanova has more on the story.
Communication with labor collectives is an integral part of the President's working trips. Issues that interest people are better that official reports in that they speak about the situation in the country in the best way. What worries ordinary Belarusians? Perhaps the most debated document in the country is ordinance number 3 on social dependency.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I did not cancel Ordinance number 3. And I did not even suspend it. It's wrong to say that. Ordinance number 3 is still in force today. The only thing that I demanded is to suspend payments since the implementation of this ordinance was dissatisfactory. Let people pay next year for this year. But during this time we will recheck all the lists. Deadline is October 1, so that people are not offended. And we will say: "Guys, either get a job or we will find you a job ourselves, and you know what this job might be."
Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly emphasizes: the main task of the decree is to fight against shadow economy, against those who does not officially finance government spending.
However, in Belarus, support of social services is not just a catchphrase but a kind of brand that is bolstered by specific activities.
Jobs is another topic in Belarus. A tough demand of the head of state is to ensure that everyone has a job. A special approach will be used to those unwilling.
I have not announced my demand, not the market one: today, when I require an average salary of Br1,000 some think that they can achieve this by laying off people, including good staff. You can't do this without coordination with local authorities. Why? If you schedule to lay off these people, agree with the authorities where these people will go. We can't throw people away to streets in hard times.
A job should provide a decent standard of living. A salary of BYN 1,000 (about $500) is another strategic goal for the government at all levels.
People are always looking in their pocket or purse, and if they don't see anything there, they start to say things are going bad: inflation and deflation. Everything will be here, I understand that perfectly. We agreed that your salary will grow. It needs to grow. Let it be even a thousand dollars, and even if in some cases it will be $400, the country average will be higher. This is what I demand. But on average, the country should have about a thousand rubles.
At the same time, the Belarusian state will continue to help those who really need it. For example, families with children who are in need of better housing conditions. Already in 2017, the government will build 100,000 m2 more housing for such people. In addition, for this purpose the Government has allocated BYN50 million.
Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We will offer another mechanism that will make it possible to give loans for housing with state support. In this case, support will be provided not to banks to reduce the price of interest on loans, but directly to citizens who will build housing with state support.
Another option to create new jobs is the development of small and medium-sized businesses. The Belarusian market is open for business. The business climate is improving every year. This is evidenced by the World Bank ranking.
In 2017, Belarus has risen by 13 positions in the Doing Business ranking and now is in 37th place out of 190 states.
If you want to open medium and small businesses, we will create the conditions. Just develop. Today, we will help you by lowering taxes and tomorrow you will employ a dozen people and will pay them a good salary. And you will pay taxes when you stand on your feet. Therefore, we will do what we promised to.
Large businesses also feel that favorable climate. Foreign investors create new enterprises.
Alexander Lukashenko stresses that Belarus is ready to meet businesses' demands if they latter take into account national interests.
For the production it is important to get raw materials at low prices and they need to be of high quality. It is desirable not to pay taxes. And moreover you have energy that is twice cheaper than in Germany or Poland. We have a stable society. We have a quiet and a peaceful country.
Peter Keindl, investor (Austria):
We are very satisfied with the geographic location of Belarus, the availability of raw materials. But most importantly you have a stable economic environment in your country.
Another positive moment for the country from the point of view of investors is that Belarus has no problems of bribes. There are particular cases of unscrupulous officials but these attempts fail and are punished.
Recently we have arrested the deputy minister, unfortunately. Everyone shouts that they are honest, diligent. But that official took a bribe for the commissioning of a facility with fire safety violations. We took everyone on the spot. Well, why be offended? All are equal before the law - both ministers and deputy ministers.
Economy and social development require informed decisions and approaches. In the case of the Belarusian model the authorities have a business plan and clear outlook. In simple terms, there are "three pillars": fair pricing, new jobs and decent wages.