Lukashenka says he dreams of average pay of $500

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Friday that he dreamt of an average monthly pay of $500 in Belarus.

“It would be a New Year`s present for me. I dream of it,” the Belarusian leader said while visiting a care home for the elderly in the Stowbtsy district, Minsk region.

According to Mr. Lukashenka, “colossal” efforts are necessary to increase average monthly pay in the country to the equivalent of $500.

“I feel sorry for those who do not believe we will have it,” Mr. Lukashenka said, according to the government’s news agency BelTA. “We will say goodbye to those who are tasked with making it happen but do not want to do this. We will pursue this goal, whatever this may cost us.”

It is extremely necessary to increase average monthly pay in Belarus to the equivalent of $500 in 2017, Mr. Lukashenka said last week, speaking to the newly appointed head and deputy head of the Presidential Administration.

“Average monthly pay should be $500 next year, whatever this may cost us,” he said. “You may steal, dig up, seek out and do everything you want, but you must meet the $500 target. We cannot avoid doing this. That is why let’s work in the interests of people and support them.”

Independent economists say that it is unrealistic to expect that average monthly pay in Belarus will increase from about $360 at present to $500 in 2017.