Vasil Zharko appointed deputy prime minister
Alyaksandr Lukashenka on December 29 relieved Vasil Zharko of his position as health minister and appointed him to serve as deputy prime minister in charge of the social sector.
The Belarusian leader pointed out to Mr. Zharko on Thursday that he had been selected from among many candidates because there were “serious achievements” in the public health field. “Nonetheless, there are a huge number of shortcomings that you will have to address in the position of deputy prime minister,” he said, according to the government’s news agency BelTA.
“No one else has probably been a minister for so long,” the head of state said to Mr. Zharko, who has served as minister of health for more than a decade.
“This means that you were faced with important matters that had to be resolved and you resolved them,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “If you did not resolve them, you would not be a minister.”
The head of state noted that Mr. Zharko would be responsible for the social sphere, which he said includes education, healthcare and sports. “We have to put the situation at schools to rights,” he said. “We also have to address the situation with regard to higher education institutions, starting with admission exams.”
“There is serious work ahead of you in the field of sports, where there have been no expected results despite the relatively large expenses,” Mr. Lukashenka said.
He also pointed out that the government has been set the target of ensuring that average monthly pay in the county increases to $500 in 2017. “This is within the orbit of your Ministry of Labor and Social Security,” he said. “The level of people’s pay is not high because of these economic troubles. We have to raise it, whatever this may cost us.”
”My tip to you is: you should by no means try to be a kind guy towards anyone,” Mr. Lukashenka added.
Born in a village in the Drahichyn district, Brest region , in 1956, Mr. Zharko graduated from Minsk State Medical Institute in 1984 and from the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus in 2008.
He served as a doctor in the Brest region from 1984 to 1991. In the following decade, he served as deputy head of the health department of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.
His career also includes service as director general of UP Belprafsayuzkurort (subsidiary of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus in charge of health resorts) from 2003 to 2005 and as acting secretary general of the Belarusian Red Cross Society from 2005 to 2006.
Mr. Zharko was appointed health minister in May 2006.
In the position of deputy prime minister, he succeeded Natallya Kachanava, who was appointed head of the Presidential Administration on December 21.