Lukashenka approves 30-percent reduction in staff of Presidential Administration

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has, by his February 13 presidential edict, approved plans to reduce the staff of the Presidential Administration by 30 percent.

The edict is aimed at “improving the performance of the Presidential Administration and optimizing its structure and staff numbers,” reported the press office of the Belarusian leader.

The edict also defines the functions and powers of the Administration.

“The new structure will make it possible to ensure the efficiency of this government agency in the context of the reduction in its staff numbers,” the press office said.

In particular, the edict introduces the posts of two additional presidential aides. One of them will be responsible for cooperation with the legislative and judicial branches, while the other will monitor the implementation of directives regarding banks and non-bank financial institutions.

In addition, the edict “considerably” extends the functions and powers of Mr. Lukashenka`s press secretary. In particular, the press secretary will now be responsible for “coordinating the activities of the most important state-run media outlets,” among other things.

The edict will come into force on May 1, 2017.

Plans to downsize the staff of the Presidential Administration were discussed at a government meeting chaired by the Belarusian leader in Minsk on February 6.

As Natallya Kachanava, the new head of the Administration, told reporters after the meeting, the number of employees was expected to be reduced to 108.

It is not easy to “optimize staff numbers” because this involves people’s lives and fates, Ms. Kachanava said, noting that the Presidential Administration’s staff would be partially reduced through the non-filling of vacancies resulting from the retirement of employees. Other redundant officers will be provided with assistance in finding a job in other organizations and institutions, Ms. Kachanva said.

“My requirements regarding the optimization of the state apparatus remain unchanged,” Mr. Lukashenka said at the meeting, according to the government’s news agency BelTA. “Only ardent-eyed people who want to work and bring benefit to the state should stay.”

The Presidential Administration is the “main political headquarters of the head of state and should be in the vanguard of efforts to improve the performance of government agencies and set an example of this improvement and optimization that we have started,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “It is possible and necessary to fulfill tasks confronting you in major areas with less staff.”

However, the issue of downsizing local governments remains open, as the Council of Ministers suggests leaving the staff numbers of district and city executive committees unchanged.