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Lukashenko: Jail for anyone who raises prices or closes store

Christian Fernsby |
A ban on price increases will be imposed in Belarus from 6 October, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a government meeting to discuss economic matters in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

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The most pressing issues related to inflation and price increases were raised during the meeting. Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced harsh criticism for insufficient control and lack of action to ensure fair pricing in all market segments. The situation eventually required the intervention of the head of state.

Following the meeting, the president announced his decision: "From 6 October any increase in prices is prohibited. Forbidden! From today. Not from tomorrow, but from today. So that they do not inflate prices over the day. Therefore, from today, price increases are prohibited. God forbid someone decides to raise prices or do some indexation retroactively."

However, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that there may be exceptions for certain commodity positions and named the people who will be authorized to make such decisions.

"Such decisions can be made by the Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade, governors and Minsk mayor. Without their permission, no price may be risen over today’s level," the head of state ordered.

He explained why he opted for such a strong-willed decision:

"Because prices surged excessively at one point, about which the prime minister reported to us. But they still continued to grow. They rose by the same amount. Prices are exorbitant today. They hit the ceiling. Prices cannot be raised anywhere. There is no need for that. Yet there may be exceptions. These exceptions are under the control of the minister and the governors. That's it."

Aleksandr Lukashenko also warned against any closures and attempts to leave the market. “You will be held responsible for any store or facility closing or leaving the market,” the Belarusian leader said.

He instructed the prosecutor general and the chairman of the State Control Committee to monitor the fulfillment of these instructions and to take tough decisions regarding violators. “Immediate detention and criminal proceedings,” he said.

“The prosecutor and the State Control Committee will determine what to do with anyone who violates my instructions, who contributes to any violations, or who just takes no notice of them,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova was instructed to prepare the current meeting together with a group of other officials. They will have to promptly submit proposals to the government on measures to regulate prices in Belarus.

“This group, headed by Kochanova, includes Gerasimov, Andreichenko, Orda, Medvedeva [heads of the State Control Committee, House of Representatives, Federation of Trade Unions, Belarusian Statistics Committee]. Invite any experts and work out a plan [of measures to regulate prices]. Submit it to the government. The government shall make a decision by 20 October 2022,” the president said.

He asked to report to him immediately if there are any doubts regarding a possible deficit.

Addressing First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov, Aleksandr Lukashenko advised to find ways to lower prices. “You better find ways to lower the prices,” he said.


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