Woodprocessing as an example of the country"s unused opportunities
On November 30th, woodworking industry’s modernization was declared a failure.
Belarus has significant forest resources, but the share of woodworking industry in the country’s economy is minor. The industry has the potential to gain influence inside the country, but organizational factors weaken the industry’s competitiveness.
Forests cover 38.8% of Belarus. However, the use of forest resources in the Belarusian economy is negligible. Manufacture of wood and wood production make up 1.2% in the Belarusian industry. Woodwork industry exports make 0.7% of the total Belarusian exports. Return on sales was 6.8% in January-September 2012 and 17.5% of the industry are unprofitable.
Woodworking industry modernization programme was designed to improve the situation. Organizational factors disrupted meeting of all the programmes’ deadlines at Bellesbudprom concern.
Top-management staff rotation principle in the industry is unclear. Director of a successful company (“Ivatsevichidrev”) was dismissed despite the obvious improvement in financial indicators at the enterprise, and director of a company experiencing obvious financial problems (“Borisovdrev”) nonetheless runs the enterprise.
Instead of solving organizational problems, the government shifts responsibility on the employees. Woodworking industry employees have the lowest wages in the country. To solve these problems, Alexander Lukashenko proposed to introduce a ban on staff dismissal from the enterprises to undergo modernization and simultaneously to increase their wages. Source of wages’ growth was not named.
Thus, woodworking industry has a potential, which hypothetically could be implemented. But it is hardly possible without solving the organizational issues which relate to interaction between the wood processing and construction industries in terms of construction period reduction and enterprises’ modernization.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.