Warehouse stocks still high, government orders are unrealistic
Persistent demands by the president and government to unload warehouses lead to statistics being manipulated and reductions in stock being reported on paper only by enterprises. Warehouses cannot be unloaded because the president and government are demanding for production volumes to increase while demand for Belarusian products is falling.
In October 2013, stocks increased by BYR 1031.5 billion. As of November 1st stocks were worth BYR 29.11 trillion or USD 3.16 billion. Since January 2013 stocks increase was worth USD 570 million. It was anticipated that on January 1st, 2014 the stocks’ worth would be no more than on January 1st, 2013.
Moreover, the real situation with stocks is worse than official statistics suggests. Enterprises use various ways to demonstrate that their stocks have reduced. Stocks are distributed among retailers. Stocks are sent off for secure storage to other regions or to dealer’s warehouses in Russia. Another way is to use the term ‘incomplete production’ in the reports, when an almost-finished product is not in working condition and so is not reported as stock (popular in mechanical engineering).
Stocks built up due to economic miscalculations by the authorities both, for domestic and foreign markets. The situation is aggravated by the existence of quantitative production plans adopted by the central government. The government holds enterprises responsible for not fulfilling these plans, while it is the government which drafts these unrealistic economic plans. As a result, enterprises start cooking the books, because the government is not ready to adjust its plans.
Thus, the government refuses to accept the current market changes and shifts the responsibility for the failure to meet the projected indicators to enterprises. The government should reconsider its policy and pay more attention to quantitative indicators, not qualitative.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.