Belarus must stabilize consumer market

MINSK, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called for stabilizing the republic’s consumer market. “I’d like to hear from you about the measures to stabilize the consumer market, you don’t want to blame the imports of goods to Russia,” Lukashenko told government officials in the course of a conference over the pressing issues of the countries’ socio-economic development.

“The authorities are monitoring the import of goods; it has been decreasing week in and week out. So you cannot claim they’ve come and taken it all,” he said.

The president underlined that Belarus is presently in the common economic space with Russia. “The Ukrainian border is not closed either, and overall, we have an open economy.”

“If we close the border to someone, they’ll reciprocate against us tomorrow. Therefore, it’s utter nonsense to talk that border guards or police with the customs will form a line not to let anybody in. We have to use only economic methods,” the Belarusian leader said.

He demanded that the government look into price hikes: “despite my demands, they have been growing rapidly. Is all-permissiveness of local authorities and company directors under the pretext of disparity of prices with Russia behind it?”

He underlined that price hikes are not that scary, as it is companies and people who keep all the money. “Yet we have to see another side: can the population have a normal diet and will it be able to afford it? Have we created the conditions so that people could earn enough to feed themselves?” the president said.

He stressed that it is not about increasing money supply as was the case earlier, but earning money.

Despite criticism, Belarus will continue the policy of increasing pensions and wage indexing, he said.

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