Belarusian government, parliament told to review state support for large families
The government has been tasked with carrying out a comprehensive review of the system to support large families, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he talked to workers of the agricultural machinery company OAO Gomselmash on 20 November, BelTA has learned.
The president was asked about his opinion on the idea to reduce the working day of one parent of a large family to seven hours as an alternative to an additional paid day off a week for this category of employees provided in Belarus at present.
Demographic issues play an important role in the development of any country, the head of state pointed out. “Our biggest problem today is not Gomselmash or even the coronavirus pandemic – we will deal with this, we will help everyone recover,” the president noted. “Our biggest problem is the population. If every woman does not give birth to two or three children, we will face the same situation as Europe, Russia, and Ukraine, that lost almost 200,000 people in one year. The population is on the decline. There will be no one left here in half a century,” he added.
With this in mind, Belarus has taken measures to simulate the birthrate and to support families with children. Some of them are aimed specifically at large families, for example, the family capital program. The president stressed that thanks to its effectiveness, the program was extended after the first four-year period. Moreover, Belarus is mulling over making it permanent. “I believe that the program is here to stay. Please, have kids, for God's sake. We will find this money – $10,000 per every child after the first two children. This is the most important thing. No children means no workforce. There will be no need for education or any competences,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Plans are in place to discuss these matters in detail at the level of the government and the parliament to find ways to improve the system for supporting large families, the president stressed. One of such matters is the targeted nature of such assistance and its intended use.
According to the head of state, it is also important to discuss possible reduction in the length of parental leave that currently lasts until the child turns three, which is one of the longest parental leaves in the world.
“We have compiled the list of all relevant matters, and I have recently sent it to the government and the parliament. They have been instructed to discuss it, consult with their electorate, and then submit the results to the president, and we will come to a decision. We have not made decisions on any of these matters yet, but they are on the agenda. We will do what is best for people and the country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.