19 November 2017, Sunday, 20:55

Currency Extracted From Pockets of Belarusians

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Lukashenka sells the people's labor at rock-bottom prices.

Doctor of Economics, Barys Zhaliba, tells zautra.by about the way Belarusian taxpayers support Russians and the real cost of milk.

- Why does the state hold on to uncompetitive agricultural enterprises?

- It's the matter of policy. All developed countries have long bet on private ownership of land and private traders in the agricultural sector. And our leadership style is that all enterprises are state-owned and obey orders, they are under total control.

The essence of the state system of Belarus is the solution of the most important issues from a single center, and under private ownership all are free to make their decisions.

The Belarusian authorities allow private ownership only in such non-decisive sectors as trade and services. And as to basic spheres - industry, agriculture, everything here must be subordinated to a single center.

Although we also have farmers. And statistics show that they are more efficient. But there is a standard excuse: they say, there are few people left in villages and there is almost no one to work there; there are few who want to go in for farming, so it is better to develop large-scale agricultural production.

- Due to what and whom the authorities are going to bring uncompetitive agricultural enterprises to positive results: access to profitable production, as Lukashenka demanded?

- Still these are all slogans and assurances that the leadership shows tireless care, it monitors the situation. But if you look at the amount of money allocated to agriculture and the result gained from each monetary unit, then the industry as a whole remains unprofitable without subsidies from the budget. And I think that this system will remain.

Different ways are being sought to improve statistics. The Belarusian know-how is not only to unite enterprises lagging behind with a more competitive one, but also to transfer an economic unit, for example, to a large bank, which the International Monetary Fund sharply opposes.

- Are expectations of the Belarusian leadership that the agriculture can save the economy and claims that we export agricultural products for billions of dollars justified?

- We do export a lot of agricultural products. The first position in exports goes to petroleum products, the second - potash and other fertilizers, and the third - meat and milk which almost completely go to Russia.

But its price is questionable. It is largely subsidized, and Russian manufacturers have claims, and our production is engaged in predatory pricing on the Russian market. Belarusians pay a high price, it is supported by the budget and taxpayers.

It seems that we export a lot of agricultural products, but the effectiveness is doubtful.

- What is more important for Belarus - the effectiveness of exports or currency pumping at any cost?

- Currency is also needed, but it turns out that we earn currency at a very high price in terms of agricultural exports (and this is a Russian ruble).