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 continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.