Lukashenka hails proposal to establish "municipal retail chain" in Minsk

Alyaksandr Lukashenka on Monday welcomed a proposal to establish what is called a "municipal retail chain" in Minsk.

Speaking at a meeting with the Belarusian leader, Andrey Shorats, the recently appointed head of the Minsk City Executive Committee, said that the chain of more than 40 stores would sell goods at lower prices than other retailers, forcing the competitors to reduce their prices as well.

"This is correct, this will help bring down prices through competition," the government's news agency BelTA quoted Mr. Lukashenka as saying.

He also told the city authorities to use directives to prevent private retailers from raising prices too high. "Keep the matter under control," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka warned that the municipal retail chain's stores should not operate at a loss.

"When they proposed to me once that retailers in Minsk should be fully privatized, I said no. And I managed to keep one third of the city's stores in the government's hands. My main objective was to see the processes going on in trade by managing this property," Mr. Lukashenka explained. // BelaPAN