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Lukashenko delegates power to Government to mask his inability to steer economy

April 22, 2016 18:44

Lukashenko understands that he has few means to improve management at enterprises or the efficiency public administration. Since he does not want to be associated with economic policy failures, he shifts the responsibility onto the executives. However, Prime Minister Myasnikovich has not received any significant powers that would allow him to improve the economy.

Following the Government’s report about problems in the industrial complex, President Lukashenko has delegated some special powers to Prime Minister Myasnikovich.

Lukashenko’s attempts to improve the economic situation using commands have become less effective. In recent months, he introduced some measures in order to improve efficiency in the public administration. He focused on solving particular problems in the economy but failed to considerably improve the situation. He does not seem to have any means left to influence the executives’ performance so he delegates some of its powers to the Prime Minister Myasnikovich – for instance, the power to make personnel decisions.

Ahead of the presidential campaign, Lukashenko aspires to prevent the growth of discontent with the personnel policy among his managers – in the near future he may make some tough decisions. For example, in November 2013 President Lukashenko dismissed authoritative Minsk Oblast Executive Committee Chairman Boris Batura, which widely resonated among mid-level public officials. Back then, some other senior officials and managers found themselves in the firing line. .

In addition, the President is tightening criminal prosecution for failure to implement government programmes. On the head of state’s behalf, prosecutors launched a criminal examination at JSC Vitebskdrev for missed modernization deadlines.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian authorities have no doubts about their economic policies and the effectiveness of the ‘Belarusian model’. When talking about failed plans to unload warehouses by the majority of industrial enterprises, State Control Committee Chairman Yakobson said, referring to the experiences of Kommunarka and Spartak confectioneries, ‘so the problem is not about property ownership, public or private, but about staffing and management’.

Nevertheless, senior management has conflicting views on whether the current economic policy is effective. Unlike the controlling bodies, the Government is well-aware of the current economic model’s limits. First Deputy Prime Minister Prokopovich said that Belarus had no engineering enterprises which could compete with world leaders: ‘In order for MAZ and the Tractor Plant to be competitive, we must invest billions or hundreds of millions’. Meanwhile, the government has no solutions to improve the state enterprises’ efficiency within the existing economic policy.

President Lukashenko is not interested in dismissing Prime Minister Myasnikovich. The Government’s resignation will not reverse the negative trends in the economy.

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