The Big Family caught stealing
13:32, Anatol Liabedzka — Opinion
Today instead of the ”big family” we are left with big nothing.
“We have even suggested the “big family” project where a family get, let’s say, $10 thousand for the first baby. We open a dollar bank account. You get $20 thousand for the second baby, double amount for the third. And if you add own funds to this account for you future third or second baby, we give you twice as much,” Lukashenka said on October 8, 2013. His words triggered a vivid discussion in the media, social networks and the society.
However, already on January 3, 2014, vice minister of labor and social security Aliaksandar Rumak admitted that the state has no money for the “big family”!
In other words, instead of the “big family” the Belarusian regime has shown us its huge butt cheeks.
The demographic problem is obvious. This is a question of the country’s nearest future. As a matter of fact, the state is obliged to do everything possible to find the necessary resources, especially given that the money is there. Where is it though? – Spent on the construction of the new residence (a quarter of million dollars, furnishing and decor excluded), Lukashenka’s refreshed website ($300 thousand) and security (dozens of millions).
Where else has the money been spent? Let us look what Belarusian officials say in this regard. The country’s chief official, A.Lukashenka, stated: “Everyone in the public, and I do agree with them, says that the construction industry is the most corrupted, even mafia-steered… Our neighbors have the same situation. This industry still hasn’t managed to eliminate its old problems. Budget funds are spent ineffectively, volumes and costs of construction projects are overestimated, prices are artificially changed. These and many other facts occur in this industry on a daily basis.
When will the mafia-steered construction industry become an industry controlled by the state? I am not afraid to say that in public. Mafia operates in the construction industry. I’m not the only one to say so. Everything is dimmed, people, cargo, destinations. Those who build a huge project for budget funds can go to prison directly without an investigation, because, for example, they spend two loads of concrete for the construction and steal three loads for private mansions and other jobs.”
Well, according to the country’s best informed person, more than 50 percent of state investments to the construction industry are stolen. Last year BYR 176 trillion were spent on the industry (the number is for January-November 2013). This number is more than significant even without costs of machinery, equipment and salaries. Billions are being stolen! The thieves in the government are the main threat of the “big family” project.
Where else can we find some money? In the property. Or more specifically, in its inefficient use. As of October 1, 2013, the total area of unused state property equaled 1 776 416 m2, where 618 605 m2 are national property and 1 157 811 m2 – communal property. All these properties are rotting, decaying and still suck resources for maintenance from the budget.
Meanwhile, it is fairly simple to calculate that lending out the properties for $10 per m2 will generate about $200 million annually, which is much more than the vehicle tax that car owners have to pay.
By the way, the United Civil Party is not allowed to rent an office in any region of Belarus. Why not let entrepreneurs use the properties free of charge? They would start their businesses there, create jobs and fill the treasury with new taxes. Moreover, it would become more difficult for regional and republican officials to take bribes and grow fat from maintaining state properties.
So the country has the money needed for the “big family” project. But corruption, thievery and ineffective management create a big nothing. Lukashenka has forged a system of no exit. The only way to cut this knot is either free elections or a big Square.
Anatol Liabedzka for charter97.org