The dictator supported proposals of Pavel Topuzidis, Chairman of Board of directors of Tabak Invest limited liability company, on development of a retail chain in Belarus.
“I have received your proposals regarding the construction of an entire system of enterprises in Belarus to service our population,” Lukashenka noted at the meeting with the oligarch.
He approved the systemic work of Pavel Topuzidis' business in retail and stressed that the approach should be an example for others to follow. “I don't see any major problems with what you are suggesting. I think that normal, not small and not large but average retail enterprises, one can even say compact ones, should be developed in Belarus particularly in view of competition considerations,” the Belarusian ruler said. “I am rather ready to agree to it”.
“You are prepared to build up to 130 shopping centers all over the country, several average ones and a couple of big ones. I think it is quite feasible to accomplish in Belarus,” he said. At the same time Alyaksandr Lukashenka remarked he was not concerned about the scale of the proposal because Pavel Topuzidis had earned the reputation of “an honest businessman”.
“We would like to see a sufficient number of such businessmen in Belarus who could be beacons and examples of good practice in this or that sphere and the construction of such enterprises,” he noted.
Lukashenka also said he would like well-to-do citizens of Belarus, businessmen to more actively invest in their own country. “We could use more investments and investments from citizens of Belarus at that — the people, who live here, earn money and try to expand their business. I welcome it and you know it. We had a conversation about it a long time ago. It is good that you deliver on your promises,” said the dictator.
Lukashenka stated retail outlets should more actively promote goods made in Belarus.
“If there is a goods item in Belarus (which is analogous to imported one), it should be presented and given a good showing to in every shop. Some people are moaning and crying now, they say we do not have such goods as abroad. And I ask them do they have foreign currency to buy these goods and sell them here, as we are taking currency abroad. It should be taken into account,” he said.
“It is possible we rank below in some sectors as far as imported goods are concerned, but these goods are manufactured in our country, and they are many times cheaper than the imported ones. I am not against imports, but present our goods favourably too,” Lukashenka stressed.
“I will certainly support and insist on selling Belarusian goods. This requirement is made by me with kid gloves, but we are going to be more active in this direction, and you should understand that Belarusian goods should be sold as well. There are no serious problems with food products, but a range of clothes, footwear and so on should be presented,” he said.