President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko believes that the Belarusian leather and footwear industry is parasitic on the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the state. “The enterprises of the footwear industry have a negative balance of foreign trade operations. Since 2006, this figure has increased almost 5,5 times and reached almost $ 40 million. In fact, the whole industry is parasitizing on the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the state, although everyone must bring foreign currency to the country, ”the president said on November 8 at a meeting on the development of the leather and footwear industry.
The President pointed out that the Belarusian footwear industry is “breaking records of import intensity”. “In the cost of products manufactured at Luch, imports make up 71%, at Belvest and San Marco - almost 70%, at Krasny Oktyabr - more than half. In other words, what we produce is also almost not ours, ”Lukashenka said.
He noted that the increase in the import of foreign blanks for shoes leads to the fact that enterprises lose their technological and professional level, qualified personnel.
According to Lukashenka, from the point of view of departmental interests, the situation in the shoe industry is not so bad, the shoe enterprises seem to be working, even profitably. Meanwhile, he noted, over the past ten years, the country's own production of shoes in the republic has decreased from 16 million to 13 million pairs per year. At the same time, the annual import of footwear during this period increased more than tenfold - up to 10 million pairs, which in dollar terms is over $ 200 million. “That is, we are losing our own market. We give our money to someone else's uncle. The main reason for this is the low quality and insufficient assortment of Belarusian footwear, ”Lukashenka stressed.
He also pointed out that the best raw materials were sold abroad. “The best raw materials were sent abroad in their unprocessed form. From 2000 to 2010, the export of unprocessed hides has been increased by as much as three times. They left themselves dirt and waste from primary processing, ”Lukashenka said. He recalled that within the framework of the protective measures for the export of raw materials, adopted two years ago, the government promised to ensure its supply to domestic enterprises. “As a result, how many Belarusian raw materials and semi-finished products were used for shoe production? Only 40%. The rest, in the overwhelming mass, were still driven to Italy, Poland, India, even to Ukraine. The own footwear industry is not provided with leather in sufficient quantity and, most importantly, of the required quality, "the president stressed.
He noted that as a result, Belarusian manufacturers are forced to import high-quality leather from abroad for the production of leather goods. “We import leather exported by us, but with a higher quality of processing. Instead of establishing this production cycle at home and reducing the consumption of foreign currency, ”the President said.
He asked members of the government to indicate what they intend to do in order to turn the tide. He reminded that the enterprises of the leather and footwear industries will have to work in the new conditions for the integration of Belarus into the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space, and also taking into account Russia's entry into the WTO, ITAR-TASS reports.