Source: President of the Republic of Belarus
6 October 2020
Belarus should make the best possible use of its renewable forest resources, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he heard out a report on the development of the country’s woodworking, pulp and paper industries on 6 October.“Today I would like to hear answers to a number of questions regarding the implementation of my instructions,” the President said at the beginning of the meeting.According to the head of state, the woodworking industry is the most important and strategic one for the national economy. “Having considerable reserves of renewable forest resources, we need to ensure their rational use with maximum effect. We have made decisions to get all the added value here, at our enterprises. This issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible. A lot has been done for that,” he said.The President said that the major woodworking enterprises had been upgraded. Projects in the pulp and paper industry are currently under implementation. Considerable financial resources have been injected in this area, he said.“It should be noted that the invested funds work. The staff have been preserved at the enterprises, which would not exist today if not for modernization. Thousands of new jobs have been created. The volumes of timber processing and the export of high value-added products have been increased several times. As for the export, the media reports provide the figure of 75% of the output. This is a good thing. Other important things include the price for these products and the efficiency of production, i.e. profitability,” the head of state said.According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the industry shows a confident growth in general. The government pays the closest attention to the sector, with top officials being coordinators of its most important projects.The most problematic investment projects were considered at the meeting hosted by the President in late 2019. These were the plants producing base paper in Shklov, coated and uncoated cardboard in Dobrush and bleached sulphate pulp in Svetlogorsk. Then, decisions were made on the implementation and completion of the projects.“I would like to hear answers to the following questions. First, what is the general situation in the woodworking industry: export, financing, enterprises’ performance, salaries. Has the coronavirus epidemic affected the industry?” asked the President. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, in January-August 2020 Bellesbumprom’s industrial output exceeded the last year’s figures by about 2.5-3%. The export figures were higher, as well. “The second question: what is the progress in the implementation of the most important investment projects? We have made decisions on Svetlogorsk, Dobrush and Shklov. Are these projects on schedule? Question number three: what prospects are there for the construction of paper and packaging facilities? We have discussed it with you already. Here are the reforms – we need to develop manufacturing based on forest resources,” the head of state stressed.“During the election campaign I was speaking about it a lot when our opposition members were calling for reforms. These are the reforms – we need to develop and advance production relying on forestry resources,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.He remarked that Belarusian enterprises have already learned to make the so-called semi-finished products – pulp and paper. “Let’s make, for example, cardboard to substitute imported cardboard from Poland, Germany. Let’s make it here instead of exporting pulp and buying finished cardboard. We need to do it immediately. We need to install a machine to produce cardboard and packaging,” the President stressed.According to the head of state, the majority of work in this area should be done next year. “Whatever the cost,” he said.