30 September 2020, Wednesday, 8:39
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Henadz Fiadynich: We Do Not Need Palaces! Let Belarusians Make Money!

Henadz Fiadynich: We Do Not Need Palaces! Let Belarusians Make Money!
Henadz Fiadynich
Photo by spring96.org

Stop deceiving people.

"Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Belarus, 2019" published data on Belarusians with the average per capita disposable resources in 2018 that did not exceed the minimum consumer budget. It equals to Br344 per one family member of four per month. The number of people made 2 mln 667.1 thousand. It means that every third resident of Belarus can't afford a minimum set of goods and services. What does this figure indicate? Charter97.org asked the leader of the REP Independent Trade Union Henadz Fiadynich for comments.

- First of all, speaking about the minimum consumer budget (MCB), it should be revised long ago. This indicator does not provide a number of services. The MCB involves utilities, food, leisure activity, but this minimum needs revision today. Every quarter the MCB is indexed, somehow recalculated, but it has long exceeded 500 rubles.

As for those families, people, our fellow citizens who can't afford this minimum set of goods and services: if officials have a slight vision of the so-called "socially responsible economy," this category of citizens should receive preferential tariff rates for housing and communal services, benefits for travelling in transport. Benefits in all areas with state monopoly.

If our government cannot do its best to provide a person with at least the funds that are stipulated by the MCB, then all tariff rates should be reduced so that people could fall within this limit. These officials are useless if it is not done.

- If one looks at the figures included in this budget, then 4.47 rubles is left for leisure activity and 8.26 rubles for health. Do such figures meet the real needs of people?

- These figures indicate that the MCB indicators should be completely revised. There should be not 8 rubles for hygiene and health, but, for example, 28 rubles. The decision should be made not in closed offices of ministries and departments, but with representatives of the public sitting at a round table.

The figures should not be fictitious, but average.

And what does 49% for food mean? People in any country who spend more than 30% of their income on food are considered poor. Therefore, if the MCB is raised to 550-600 rubles, people do not spend 49% of their income on food. They will spend about 35%.

It should be the ground to stand on. People should not be deceived by populist figures. Then we will have a picture of how much money people should earn today. If we take the issue seriously, the MCB indicator must be equal to the minimum wage.

- In Poland, the budget for one person up to 60 years old is around 300 dollars. What figure should it be in Belarus?

- I believe that Br550-600 is a normal figure for a minimum standard of living. Today's MCB is a figure for survival.

If today the economy does not allow to increase some indicators, then there is no need to take the latter away from people. Just admit that the economy is inefficient. It is not because of people, but because the current government is not able to manage the country.

- Are our authorities not able to meet even the minimum needs of people?

- You know, the economy has its laws. Money should be earned. It will preserve us from high inflation and devaluations. The economy must work.

But our government keeps building ice and football palaces, not hospitals with good equipment, decent salaries for doctors.

We do not need palaces when the health of the nation is at stake! We don't need palaces, let people earn money!

How did the authorities come up with life expectancy 68 years for men? I wish they could live to the age of 63! As a rule, a person lives two more years after retirement and the passes away - no person, no problem. Is this a good attitude of the state towards people? I think the retirement age should be set at 61. It must stay like this until there is a significant increase in the life expectancy of our pensioners! Today the authorities are afraid to admit that our people do not live to the retirement age.

- The authorities used to turn on the printing press before the "elections," but today we hear that "we need to tighten our belts". Is there no money for such tricks?

- Everything depends on the economy. Then the state raised huge sums on oil refining. Petroleum products were sold abroad in large quantities. I'd like to note that all these transactions were conducted without the control of civil society.

Today the oil refining industry does not generate so much money, but we are told that we run a budget surplus. If it is true, where is the money? What are you preparing for? If we run a budget surplus, then cancel the road tax. You took that money with duty when people imported cars. Where is this money? Why does nobody know? Can the state budget exist without the control of civil society?

As for the presidential "elections," I believe that there may be relaxations on the part of the authorities, some decrees, attempts to reassure people that we are about to live better. People's standard of living must be proof of a better life. If it does not work, there will be no trust in the authorities.

- What advice Henadz Fiadynich can give Belarusians to stop surviving and start living?

- Firstly, to recalculate the real cost of the minimum consumer budget. Secondly, to determine that the minimum wage cannot be less than the updated MCB, which is Br500-600.

The labour pension should be equal to this sum. If there are people who live off less money, there should be a system of benefits for these families. Everyone should feel equal in our society.

Many people have been trapped by the retirement age. It means that the length of the insurance period must be reduced from 20 to 15 years! Men and women should retire at the age of 61 and 56 respectively. The authorities must stop victimizing people. The next step is to abolish Decrees No. 1 and No. 3 because money from abroad is used to support the country's economy. One should be glad that Belarusians earn money in other countries and send it to our country! These decrees must be abolished and forgotten.

To set the unemployment benefit at the level of 70-80% of the salary, received by a person over the past year. A clear system of retraining of people should be created. If a person worked as a locksmith and is offered to go as a street cleaner, it is not acceptable. Provide a person with a salary comparable to a previous place of work. People's welfare should not decline. This is the primary task of the state and the authorities.