Updated at 21:48,17-09-2020

Lukashenka: Trade liberalisation was gross mistake


The ruler decided to focus on trade.

Lukashenka made this statement on January 28 at a meeting to discuss the current state and prospects for consumer cooperation in Belarus, BelTA news agency reports.

"It has nothing to do with the meeting. We're going to look into agriculture and then into utility sphere. No one wants to discuss the trade issue," he said. "It was time when we liberised the trade. It was our gross mistake. All economists say now it's wrong to deregulate prices until we have a a strong competition in the manufacturing sector."

"I think we need to get into trade and study the current processes. We need to take decisions, but not to harm the trade and other market trends. Maybe a law should be adopted. We need to take a close look at trade," the ruler said.

Lukashenka reminded he ordered the prime minister to inspect the work of the Ministry of Trade.

"You said it should be closed down, but I say let's try to use it, let's load it with work. Return to the issue, authorise the Ministry of Trade and the Belcoopsoyuz cooperation association to bring order to trade. They must bring order. The rest should accept the order. Both the Trade Ministry and Belcoopsoyuz should control and regulate trade relations in our country," Lukashenka underlined.

Kanstantsin Sumar, the chair of the Brest regional executive committee, raised a question of the growing competition with large trading networks and expressed an opinion that priority should be given to corner shops.

"I have already warned the governors and Minsk's mayor that they will answer for every hypermarket if corner shops are closed. We have enough trading networks. We need to keep something like a percentage ratio. Otherwise they will grow out of control and we'll found ourselves completely dependable on them," Lukashenka said.

"Build a hypermarket where it is needed. But look, make calculations and say 'stop' if you already have enough hypermarkets. It especially concerns Minsk and other big cities. Other shops should be small and medium. It will create competition and independence in trade," he continued.

"We've agreed on trading networks: we have enough large stores. God forbid small shops are closed. Moreover, foreigners from other countries stand behind shopping malls. They will impose their conditions and you will have to agree, because you won't have other stores," the ruler summed up.