Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lukashenka dissatisfied with industrial sectors performance

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Alyaksandr Lukashenka said during a government conference in Minsk on Tuesday that he was concerned about trends in the development of the industrial sector.

In his opening speech, Mr. Lukashenka expressed concern about increasing external receivables, a drop in exports and the poor financial situation of industrial companies, according to BelTA.

He recalled that he had given specific orders during a June 11 conference on the performance of the industrial sector and assigned high-ranking government officials to supervise the development of companies struggling to sell their finished products. He noted that a decision had then been made to significantly reduce not only the stockpiles of unsold products but also the industrial sectors receivables.

Mr. Lukashenka questioned what he called the governments claims that there had been a breakthrough in the reduction of finished product inventories. According to official statisticians, Belarus industrial output has decreased by nearly five percent, external receivables have risen, debts for the goods produced by Belarusian companies are increasing and have reached 118 trillion rubels, or more than two-thirds of the countrys monthly industrial output, Mr. Lukashenka said.

"What kind of breakthrough is it if money is not transferred to the accounts of companies?" Mr. Lukashenka asked. He added that the gap between external payables and receivables was widening, and that companies were making up for a lack of revenues with bank loans. "And then we groan that our loans are expensive," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka said that his biggest concern was a decrease in Belarus exports and the failure of efforts to find new export destinations. "A reluctance or inability to trade lies at the heart of this," he noted.

According to Mr. Lukashenka, he has repeatedly stressed that the Belarusian government should become "one big trade ministry."

Speaking about the financial situation of industrial companies, he noted that net profits had dropped nearly twofold, and that the number of unprofitable companies had increased by 80 percent to account for more than 17 percent of the companies in the industrial sector. The sectors aggregate net losses have soared by 160 percent to reach 4.5 trillion rubels, he said.

"All this indicates that the obligations and directives are not being fulfilled properly," Mr. Lukashenka concluded, adding that he would like to establish the causes of the failures by the end of the conference and find out who was responsible for them.