Domestic manufacturers need to tighten requirements to the quality of their products, First Deputy Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko said.
The First Vice-Premier noted that by now virtually all the domestic companies have introduced quality standards – almost all of them have been certified in compliance with certain ISO standards. “Formally we have concluded this work and can guarantee the quality of our products, however, I should admit that in the past two years (in particular, at the end of the last year- the start of this year) we witnessed a sharp deterioration of the quality of our products,” Vladimir Semashko said.
“Our country has an open economy. We should be able to sell 65% of our produce abroad,” the First Vice-Premier noted. The Industry Ministry is tasked to export 70% of the output this year; some companies are facing a more challenging task – they should export 90-98% of the output (companies like BelAZ, MAZ, MTZ and some others).
Vladimir Semashko added: “Many started looking for excuses, saying they are not competitive in terms of technologies and quality. I say we have lost a competitive edge in the times of the crisis when global prices have been falling. This was caused by the fact that industrial companies are under a heavy tax burden compared to other economic sectors and other countries; there are also cross-subsidies for energy. In Europe there are only one or two countries where energy tariffs are higher than in Belarus. More than that, domestic companies are overburdened with huge loans that have to be borrowed under 50-60% per annum, and a social burden,” Vladimir Semashko said.
“During the crisis period we could not reduce our prices (by 5-10%) and the sales stopped. The quality issue added to the problem,” the First Vice-Premier said. He urged to tighten requirements to the quality of domestic products. “We need to make everyone think about the quality,” Vladimir Semashko underlined.