19 November 2017, Sunday, 0:11

Lukashenka Got Out Of Touch With Reality

160
COLLAGE: ALEH MINICH, RADIO RACYJA

The dictator issues strange instructions.

The chair of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, which had been vacant since January 27 of this year, finally found a mistress. Yesterday Aliaksandr Lukashenka appointed Iryna Kastsevich head of the Ministry of Labor, and immediately determined the priorities of her activities, Your Country’s Tomorrow writes.

– The task is to create 70 thousand new jobs in 2017. And these jobs must be modern, qualitative, effective and have an appropriate level of wages. By the end of the year, the average salary in the country is to be at least Br1 thousand. As for the pension provision, the level of pensions is to be at least 40% of the average monthly salary," – Iryna Kastsevich said, stressing that "all these tasks are complex but realistic."

Will the new minister succeed in realizing these plans?

Kavalkin: Wrong Minister Encharged With Task

– It is at least strange to give such instructions under a free market economy. If only because business creates jobs, not the state," – Kosht Urada project head Uladzimir Kavalkin notes.

According to him, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection does not even have an indirect bearing upon the creation of jobs, except in his own territorial bodies and in the central apparatus.

– But it is unlikely that the head of state, giving such an instruction to Iryna Kastsevich, meant to increase the number of officials by 70 thousand. This does not fit in with his desire to optimize the state apparatus. So, it was absolutely a wrong minister to be encharged with such a task, – the expert believes.

At the same time, the economist is sure that it is not difficult to create 70,000 jobs even under current conditions. The only thing is that it’s necessary to count how many jobs the economy will lose. After all, the main problem now is that people are fired more often than hired. Therefore, the analyst is sure, this is not about new jobs, but about increasing the population’s employment.

– If you look at the balance of those hired and dismissed, then only as of May last year, the economy lost about 120 thousand jobs. Officials can say that they created 50,000 jobs, 30,000 jobs or some other number of jobs. But the balance between newly created jobs and lost ones has been negative for the last three years, – the economist notes.

In his opinion, the tasks to increase pensions to a level of at least 40% of the average monthly wage are no less populist.

– The budget doesn’t envisage such pensions. And there will not be a salary of $ 500. This money is not there and there is nowhere from which it can be taken, – the expert is sure.

He believes that the authorities should not count on external borrowing.

– At a time when Russia does not seek to refinance us, and the IMF requires structural reforms, it makes no sense to talk about increasing salaries and pensions. Therefore, such instructions only demonstrate Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s isolation from the economic reality in the country, – Uladzimir Kavalkin said.