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 regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.