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Spring fieldwork to be financed in full volume

Today, Premier Sergei Sidorsky informed the President that this year’s spring fieldwork would be financed in full volume. Br 2.17 billion will be allocated to purchase fertilisers, fuel, new equipment, to repair the old equipment, and for other purposes. Alexander Lukashenko gave a task to speed up the sowing campaign so that it could be completed within a tight time framework. 20 per cent of the planned amount of spring crops have been sown to date; there have been prepared 30 per cent of the lands planned for spring crops.

This year Belarus plans to sow 1.2 million ha of spring crops. The President set the task to harvest no less than 7.8 million tonnes of grain, no less than 150,000 tonnes of brewer's barley, 3.7 million tonnes of sugar beet and 60,000 tonnes of flax.

The President was also informed on the country’s economic performance in Q1 2008. The rate of GDP growth in January-March was 10.5 per cent. “This is a good result. It meets the rate of economic development in the year 2004,” the Premier said. The rate of industrial production growth was 13.6 per cent, that of agricultural production 6.8 per cent, capital investments 20 per cent.

The housing construction targets were also met. Inflation in January-March was 4.1 per cent. In Russia inflation was 4.8 per cent, in Ukraine 9 per cent.

The President and Premier also discussed some matters relating to the country’s innovation and investment policy. The President said it was necessary to accelerate modernisation of Belarusian companies, implementation of new technologies, including those serving to enhance energy efficiency of Belarusian companies. “The work in this area has already been unfolded. The GDP energy intensity has reduced by 7.3 per cent since the beginning of the year. We expect this index to be around 8 per cent in the course of the year,” Sergei Sidorsky said.

In addition, the meeting touched upon the subject of fulfilment of the agreements reached at the recent session of the Council of Ministers of the Belarus-Russia Union State, which took place in March in Minsk. The President and the Prime Minister discussed the issues of further development of trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation. This year the rate of growth of the trade turnover with Russia is much bigger than it used to be in the previous years.

All in all, Belarus boosted its foreign trade by 60 per cent over the first two months of 2008.


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