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Former Head of Amkodor: It’s-All-Over Situation at State-Owned Enterprises

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Former Head of Amkodor: It’s-All-Over Situation at State-Owned Enterprises
Photo: BYMEDIA

How did Lukashenka "launch" the enterprises.

Yesterday it became known that Belshina plants suspended its work according to the approved production plan for February. Two plants will not work until February 21, while another one at least until March 1. Workers have to file applications to be paid 2/3 and stay at home. Other state-owned enterprises also face problems.

The former head of Amkodor Vasil Shlyndzikau commented on the situation in the Belarusian state sector to Charter97.org.

- We are focused on exports to Russia. Its economy has been stagnating for several years already. We have the same, of course. Hence the problems. To say nothing of the other things. For example, competition. Belshina is not the one to face challenges. This is a common serious problem. It's-all-over situation at state-owned enterprises.

- Why do these enterprises turn out to be unprofitable after such extensive money inflows and protection from the authorities?

- They have to sell products at low profitability. Secondly, the volumes decline and the expenses remain the same. If a plant has idle hours, it still bears losses, whether one wants it or not. One has to warm the premises, clean them, pay the staff. It's our common misfortune that an industrial enterprise, especially a giant, is unprofitable. It relates to the economic policy line in the country. We have stuck in Soviet times. Any move towards changes is suppressed. Therefore, it inflicts such effects.

- What do you think of Belarusian enterprises which have turned into employment centers where people do not earn money but spend working hours for pennies?

- This is a consequence of Soviet policy. Investors do not come. No privatization is observed. Everything has stuck and dies out slowly.

- There is a new practice on the part of the authorities - the attraction of Chinese investors to build enterprises. How would you assess the Chinese factor in the Belarusian industry?

- Hoping for China is an illusion. They will not come here. They know our laws and state regulation. Unlike us, the Chinese are very good at counting. That's why all this is a mess. One shouldn't rely on the Chinese but us. Not on foreign capital, but ours. To do this, we need to transform all this old industry: privatize, break it into pieces, etc. There should be a whole program. For this, we need literate and prepared people in the ministry. There are no such people. They must be trained abroad.

- Why do the heads of enterprises become scapegoats?

- Who can else be? You know who is to be the next scapegoat. The stronger always blames the weaker. It's easier to blame these executives for them to sell at a low price and buy in at high. Hence the problem. It's been a quarter of a century since we've heard such fairy tales.

- Why do the authorities keep supporting these enterprises?

- Otherwise, crowds of people take to the streets. The easiest way to stop it is to keep the system comatose.

- What strategy would you recommend for the Belarusian public sector? A few practical steps.

- Firstly, large enterprises should find foreign investors, but they will not come here. To attract investors, there should be another economic policy line and other authorities. Even in this case, serious people will believe us in five years. As long as this government exists, no one will invest here, except for the "decorative" capital which builds these shopping centers.

Secondly, it is necessary to privatize enterprises. At least to throw away everything unnecessary, split into pieces and hand them over. Each of them will require its program. Each of them has its peculiarities. Our enterprises are already morally and physically outdated. Some of them would be easier to build anew than to modernize.