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Press Release- Embassy of Belarus : 8 June 2020

June 4, 2020

Belarus registers 45,981 coronavirus cases as of Jun 4, 2020, 253 dead

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 45,981 coronavirus cases as of Jun 4, 2020, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

21,162 recovered patients have been discharged from hospitals.

Yesterday, the ministry reported 45,116 registered coronavirus cases and 248 deaths in Belarus.

The Health Ministry says around 585,000 tests for the coronavirus infection have been conducted in Belarus as of Jun 4.

Belarus gets new prime minister as Lukashenko appoints new government

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on June 4, 2020, appointed Roman Golovchenko as new prime minister, and introduced members of the new cabinet of ministers.

Roman Golovchenko previously held the post of the chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry; in 2013-2018 he worked as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to the United Arab Emirates – concurrently in the State of Qatar, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Golovchenko also worked at the State Secretariat of the Security Council of Belarus, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Presidential Administration.

Golovchenko is taking over the post over from Sergey Rumas, who stood at the helm of the Belarusian government since Aug 2018.

“I have no big complaints about Sergey Rumas’ performance as prime minister, but the man wants to go into business,” Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the new composition of the government on Jun 4. “He told me that he wants to do business and earn money, that he can make big money. I do not think that Rumas will leave the country and take all the money with him. He will invest it in the economy here. Everything should be fair and according to the law,” said Lukashenko.

At the same time, Lukashenko noted that if Rumas wants to return to public service, he will be given the opportunity to work for the government. “We can’t lose him either. He’s here to stay, he’ll work for the country,” said Lukashenko.

The president explained why Roman Golovchenko was his choice. Lukashenko stressed that in the previous job Roman Golovchenko was dealing with the development of the industry at the highest technological level. “I want him to advance the industry to a higher technological level, in all areas where possible. He is a good manager,” said Lukashenko. “But, most importantly, he is a reliable person who can be trusted. He understands things, has first-hand knowledge,” the head of state said. “He is a reliable man, a patriot of his country, was born and raised in Belarus. Having travelled the world, he did not stay anywhere, in any country. It is very important for us now that patriots and professionals come to power,” said Lukashenko.

The president has shared his vision of the way the government and the prime minister should work together. “I told him yesterday that our government is a collective body. He is the chairman of the government. He is the speaker of this government. He has a vote. Of course, he has the upper hand in a tie vote. Despite that, however, he is responsible for discipline and order in government, for the final result,” said Lukashenko.

On June 4, Lukashenko also appointed Ivan Tertel Chairman of the State Control Committee of Belarus (previously – Deputy Chairman of the State Security Committee of Belarus); Nikolai Snopkov First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus (Ambassador of Belarus to China); Dmitri Krutoy Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration (First Deputy Prime Minister); Valeri Belski Assistant to the President of Belarus for Economics (Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration); Alexander Subbotin Deputy Prime Minister (Assistant to the President of Belarus).

Ruslan Parkhamovich (Deputy Chairman of Mogilev Oblast Administration) was appointed Minister of Architecture and Construction of Belarus; Igor Lutski (STV Director General) – Minister of Information; Piotr Parkhomchik (BelAZ Director General) – Minister of Industry, Yuri Seliverstov (First Deputy Finance Minister) – Minister of Finance, Andrei Khmel (Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection) – Minister of Housing and Communal Services.

Lukashenko appointed Dmitri Matusevich (Deputy Economy Minister) Chairman of the State Property Committee; Dmitri Pantus (Deputy Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry) – Chairman. End

Lukashenko: Decisions about Belarus’ future must be taken inside the country

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. All decisions affecting Belarus’ future should be made only inside the country and by us, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at the meeting to appoint the new government on Jun 4.

“Remember you and everyone who hears me: they won’t get this country. We have been picking crumbs for more than two decades to create this flourishing country, not to let them privatize the country and drain dry these poor people… We need to keep our independence and sovereignty as the apple of our eye. Their economic component is our government’s area of responsibility. We cannot allow even the slightest loss of national authority in the area. All decisions affecting Belarus should be made only within the country and by us,” said Lukashenko, as reported by the president’s press-service.

He reminded that peace and stability is one of the greatest achievements of Belarus. “The only post-Soviet country that has not seen any misfortunes. Some Belarusians think that it is somewhere far away that Ukraine has been destroyed, the war is going on there, some territory of it has been taken away. Somewhere far away is Moldova which has been divided in half, Transnistria and the western part. They have forgotten how Lithuania fought to defend its independence and sovereignty during the Soviet times under Gorbachev. They have forgotten that today the Caucasus is still in flames, Armenians are at war with Azerbaijanis, and they cannot agree. They have forgotten that Georgia lost almost a third of its territory – first Abkhazia, then South Ossetia. Finally, no one knows how my friend Rahmon went with a machine gun to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, to restore order, how many people died there, how they fought. They have forgotten how former President Karimov in Andijan suppressed the military coup by shooting thousands of people. Everyone condemned him, and when he died, they would kneel down, weep and cry. We did not have it, so we do not want to understand it, at least some of us. So we will remind them then,” said Lukashenko. 

Lukashenko wants new government to protect domestic market from imports

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has challenged the new government to protect the domestic market from imports, although Belarus describes itself as a country with an open economy.

Lukashenko made a statement to this effect at the meeting to appoint the new government on Jun 4.

“Our domestic market is not big, but we must protect it. This is number one priority for the government, and the previous government did not resolve the issue,” Lukashenko said. “They referred to some obligations. Look what Russia did. They closed their borders and banned the import of diesel fuel and gasoline. They closed from imports. Was it right? It does not matter, the pandemic will justify everything. So they closed their borders.”

“Why are other countries working so hard to protect their domestic markets? They did not open them for us. Even if we address them as our friends when we want to sell something, they are mulling over for a year or two. They want us to provide a list and to show how much we will sell on their markets, what prices we want to get for our products. These processes are under control,” the president said. “The operations with foreign manufacturers should be under control. Unfortunately, the previous government did not fulfill my instructions to protect the domestic market. Pending decisions should be made in the near future.”

Lukashenko has instructed to ensure economic growth not only at the expense of the domestic market, but mainly through exports and external demand. “There will be no foreign currency without export. We need to finally resolve the issue of dependence from the market of one country. We cannot even depend by 50-55% on brotherly Russia. We need to diversify markets,” the president said. 

Ambassador: Belarus ready to resume negotiations on deeper integration with Russia in Sep-Oct

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarus is ready to resume the negotiation process to discuss the terms and prospects of deepening integration with Russia in September-October 2020. Vladimir Semashko, Belarus’ Ambassador to Russia, made a statement to this effect during the expert session “Russia and Belarus: The future after the pandemic,” reported the press service of the Belarusian embassy in Moscow.

As previously reported, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko proposed to adopt an integration program by December 8, 2019, the 12th anniversary of the Union State Treaty. The prime ministers initialled the integration program on September 6 and approved a list of 31 roadmaps in various fields. Their drafts were to be prepared by November. In November, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas announced that Belarus and Russia had prepared at least 20 integration roadmaps for signing. Belarus’ Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko said that the main disputes were over the price of Russian gas for Belarus in 2020 and compensation for losses resulting from the Russian tax manoeuvre in the oil sector. Lukashenko stated earlier that he would not sign the roadmaps, unless the major economy issues are resolved. This particularly concerns energy supplies, facilitated access to the Russian market for Belarusian commodities, and removal of the trade barriers. In the end, the roadmaps have never been signed.

Semashko says that from 30 road maps on the further integration on 28 are completely coordinated, one – half-coordinated. One map, which concerns the single gas market and compensation for the tax manoeuvre, “has remained open”. “The acceptance and realization of these maps could become an essential step forward in all directions of integration. However, one of the main conditions of the Belarusian side – regulation of problematic and topical issues of bilateral cooperation – had not been met by the time the roadmaps were completed,” he said.

According to Semashko, it was the lack of real progress on energy issues, elimination of barriers and creation of equal conditions that prevented signing the prepared package of documents.

“Despite a number of commitments to ensure equal conditions and guarantees for business entities in Belarus and Russia, in practice we continue to face barriers and restrictions,” he said.

“… machine kits, brought for assembly from Belarus, consist of more than 50% of Russian materials and components,” said the ambassador.

Semashko reminded that Belarus imports almost 100% of oil, gas and other raw materials. Now there is a negotiating process on the formula of the price of Russian gas. The situation with the tax manoeuvre has significantly changed the working conditions for the Belarusian petrochemical industry and the whole complex. He emphasizes the fact that Russia has recently banned imports of motor fuel, which also affects the Belarusian side.

The ambassador also reminded that in addition to restrictions on access to public purchases Belarusian enterprises periodically find themselves engaged in meat, dairy and vegetable “wars” in the Russian market.

“But then the question is what is the essence of integration? We have seen and still see the main purpose of integration in creating equal conditions for economic activity. We are openly insulted by fake statements that we are freeloaders, that we are fed for free, that we are helped in everything and so on. These are absolutely false ideas,” said Semashko. End

National Bank comments on forced transfer of corporate accounts from private to state-owned banks

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) has no right to determine which banks should be chosen by corporate customers to have their accounts with, says NBB spokesman Alexander Timoshenko.

As previously reported, state-owned enterprises have been instructed by their patron concerns and ministries to transfer their accounts, except for credit debt accounts, from private banks to the state-owned Belarusbank, Belagroprombank and Belinvestbank. This was confirmed, in particular, by the Professor Kunyavsky Business Union. The Business Union insists that the instruction grossly violates Article 13 of the Constitution of Belarus on the equality of all forms of ownership. According to the social media, the idea is to transfer accounts from the banks with Russian capital.

“The National Bank is not authorized to set any requirements and give instructions on what banks should be chosen by enterprises as their service banks, including state-owned ones,” said Timoshenko, while commenting on this situation.

He notes that the Belarusian legislation does not contain any restrictions on the choice of enterprises and organizations of service banks, so it is up to the owners themselves decide.

Thus, it follows from the commentary that the decision as to where the state enterprises should have accounts is made by the state authorities performing the functions of owner supervision. End

Belarus’ insurance cos collect Br501.9m in premiums in Jan-Apr 2020, up 9.5%/yr

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarusian insurance companies increased collection of direct and co-insurance premiums by 9.5% year on year in Jan-Apr 2020 to 501.9 million Belarusian rubles (Br) ($210.13 million at the NBB rate), the Belarusian Finance Ministry said in a release.

The total value of mandatory insurance policies sold in Jan-Apr 2020 stands at Br172.6 million ($72.3m), up 4.8% on the year.

The total value of voluntary insurance policies sold in Jan-Apr 2020 stands at Br329.3 million ($137.9 million), up 12.1% on the year.

Voluntary insurance accounts for 65.6% of total revenues in Jan-Apr 2020 (64.1% in Jan-Apr 2019).

State-owned insurance companies Belgosstrakh and Beleximgarant account for 50.6% of the total value of insurance premiums collected – Br254.12 million ($106.4m).

Belarusian insurers paid out Br257.7 million ($107.9 million) in compensations in Jan-Apr 2020, up 20.7% year on year.

The compensation to premium ratio reached 51.3% in Jan-Apr 2020, compared with 46.6% in Jan-Apr 2019. Belgosstrakh and Beleximgarant account for 53.1% of the total value of compensation payments.

As of May 1, 2020, there were 16 insurers in Belarus. The average number of full-time employees of insurance companies in Belarus stood at 8,909 as of May 1, 2020 compared with 8,737 as of May 1, 2019. End (Br2.3885/$1)

Thursday forex session: ruble down 0.38% against dollar to Br2.3976/$1

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3976/$1 to the dollar on June 4, down 0.38% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Thursday, the ruble stood at Br2.6869/€1 to the euro, down 0.36%; at Br3.4757/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.58%.

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.

The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.

The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.

At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%.

Belorusneft implements SAP Customer Experience system

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. The state-owned production association Belorusneft (Rechitsa, Gomel Oblast) has put into commercial operation a new system for managing customer loyalty programmes based on SAP Customer Experience solutions for marketing and customer interaction management.

A message to this effect has been posted on the website of SAP Russia.

The new system of loyalty programme management consists of several functional units that allow to interact effectively with customers, analyze data and develop communications based on them. The system has functionality to differentiate rewards depending on customer behaviour, the range of purchased goods and services, geography and frequency of loyalty cards use.

Belorusneft was founded in 1966. The company specializes in exploration work, oil extraction, gas processing and offers a wide range of seismic exploration operations.

Belorusneft provides oil extraction service in Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Ecuador, facilitates crude supplies to Belarusian on refineries on a give-and-take basis. Belorusneft sells oil products via a proprietary network of refilling stations–the largest network in the country. End

Belarus’ Polotsk-Steklovolokno plans to build $19m facility to produce heat-treated chemically-processed electroinsulating materials

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarus’ OAO Polotsk-Steklovolokno (a glass fibre company located in Polotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) says it plans to start building a facility for manufacturing heat-treated chemically-processed electroinsulating materials.

The total value of the project is $19 million.

The electroinsulating materials are intended for clad dielectric material, which are used for printed circuit boards.

The equipment by Brückner Group GmbH (Germany) will be installed in the facility. The contract on equipment supply was signed in March 2020.

Established in 1958, Polotsk-Steklovolokno was transformed into a joint-stock company in 2003, with the government of Belarus holding a 99% stake. 90% of products by Polotsk-Steklovolokno are exported.

The company exports its products to more than 40 countries.

Gomselmash plans to produce grain harvesters with Perkins Stage V engines in 2021

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarus’ farming machinery manufacturer Gomselmash says it plans to start serial production of grain harvesters KZS-1624-1 PALESSE GS16 with Perkins 2206J-E13TA engines, which meet the European Union’s Stage V ecological standard.

Gomselmash plans to supply export these harvesters after receiving the EU certificate of conformity.

In the near future, the plant will conduct field tests of grain harvester equipped with the new engine.

Gomselmash Production Association was founded in 1978 on the core of the Gomselmash plant, which was founded in 1930. It is one of the largest producers of agricultural equipment in the CIS and Europe. It manufactures self-propelled and towed harvesters, crushing mowing machines, grain combine harvesters and mounted shredding mowing machines. The company also offers precise seeders, tractor trailers and ploughs, mini-tractors shipped with sets of mounted tools, tree planters, mounted timber loaders, car trailers. Gomselmash products are exported to Russia and the CIS countries, the Czech Republic, China, Iran and other countries. 

A1 testing eSIM in standalone 5G network

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. A1, Belarusian provider of telecom, ICT and content services, which is currently busy testing its 5G network, has facilitated the use of eSIM cards by subscribers, the company reports.

eSIM cards by A1 will support the entire functionality of the 5G SA network, including HD voice packet transmission using VoNR technology.

The service has been tested with the use of the Huawei P40 smartphone – one of the officially sold devices in Belarus, which supports eSIM technology on a par with standard physical SIM cards in nanoSIM cards.

As previously reported, in late May 2020, A1 launched a 5G SA (Standalone) network in a test mode. This is the first full-fledged 5G network in Belarus built on the basis of autonomous architecture and, unlike networks with non-autonomous architecture (NSA, Non-Standalone), it is deployed without reference to the infrastructure of 4G/LTE networks. Currently, the network operates in a test mode and is closed for subscriber connections according to the decision of the industry regulator.

The eSIM virtual card is an electronic chip in a smartphone or tablet, which replaces the usual SIM card. The technology allows adding several phone numbers, for example, for personal and business contacts, and switch between them as needed. Currently, eSIM cards by A1 works support all compatible devices officially imported to Belarus.

Established in 1998, A1 unitary enterprise is now fully owned by A1 Telekom Austria Group. The mobile operator A1 started revenue service of its 3G network based on the HSPA/HSPA+ technology in March 2010. The operator made 4G mobile internet services available to customers in March 2019. Until Aug 1, 2019 the company had been operating under the velcom brand. Its subscriber base numbered 4.872 million people as of 1Q20. End

Belarus proposes banning use of disposable plastic forks, spoons and knives in public catering

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. Belarus’ Ministry for Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART) has posted a draft resolution on its website, which says that disposable plastic tableware, spoons and knives will be included in the list of disposable plastic tableware, the use and sale of which is prohibited in public catering facilities from January 1, 2021.

The draft resolution was sent to relevant institutions and NGOs for consideration and comments.

As previously reported, in accordance with MART resolution #14 of Feb 19, 2020, a ban on the use of plastic disposable tableware in public catering facilities is introduced in Belarus from Jan 1, 2021. The list of banned products includes sticks for stirring drinks, glasses, plates, cups, tubes (straws) for drinks, packaging for catering and food products (containers, trays, boxes, lunch boxes, cans, bottles), except for packaging for pre-fabricated products and confectionery products.

According to MART, the annual demand for disposable plastic products in the catering sector is about 200 million units, of which the demand for cups is 70 million (30% of total products), caps for cups – 31 million (13%), spoons – 23 million (10%), forks – 20 million (8.5%) and knives – 19 million (8%). Imports of disposable products exceed the public catering sector’s demand for glasses 55 times, plates 92.5 times, cups 4.6 times, stirring sticks 32 times, containers, boxes, trays and other products for storing public catering and food products more than 8,000 times. End

Belarus starts production of Pall Mall brand cigarettes with apple flavour caps

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. The British-American Tobacco Trading Company has begun production of the Pall Mall Nano and Demi brand cigarettes with flavour caps – Pall Mall Nano Green and Pall Mall Demi Green – at the facilities of the state-owned factory GTF Neman OJSC, the company reports.

The new varieties of Pall Mall cigarettes became available in retail in early June this year, June’s ceiling retail price set at Br2.4 per pack.

Founded in 1902, British American Tobacco Group is one of the largest international cigarette manufacturing and marketing companies. It has been present in Belarus since 1995, and, since 2005, it has been manufacturing cigarettes of the international brands KENT, Rothmans and Pall Mall at the GTF Neman OJSC. End

NBB’s currency rates as of Jun 5, 2020

MINSK, Jun 4 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jun 4 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jun 5, 2020.

  Currency   Br
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.3977
1 EURO EUR 2.6867
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.7088
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.3848
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.5381
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.3000
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.2622
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.9800
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 10.0360




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