Woodprocessing as an example of the country"s unused opportunities

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April 22, 2016 18:22

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.

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Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries entangle in confrontation spiral
October 02, 2017 11:57
Фото: RFRM

Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.

The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.

Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.

For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.

Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.