North Korean authorities reportedly issued a directive late last year that ordered factories, enterprises and collective farms to make all necessary preparations for carrying out their production plans for the first quarter of 2021.
A source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Tuesday that the government issued the order “on Dec. 28, ahead of the Eighth Party Congress.” The order directed “all factories, enterprises, collective farms and provincial, city and county people’s committees involved in internal construction plans” make necessary preparations to carry out their plans “for the first quarter of the new year,” according to the source.
Based on the source’s report, economic units in Yanggang Province such as factories and enterprises had submitted production and construction plans for the first half of 2021 in December. Based on these plans, North Korean authorities ordered them at the end of last month to make all necessary preparations to successfully carry out those plans from the first quarter of the new year.
The order reportedly called on factories and enterprises to “stop sitting around grumbling and waiting for orders from above,” and to normalize production by exercising the “spirit of self-reliance,” renovating machinery and equipment with the goal of maximizing operations for production.
Moreover, the order appealed to collective farms to press ahead as much as possible with their agricultural preparations with the spirit of self-reliance, rather than relying on “external” manpower and support.
The source told Daily NK that North Korean authorities made clear that executing first quarter plans is a “very important step” in improving North Korea’s stalled economy, and would be very important in “achieving the success” of decisions made at the then soon-to-be-held Eighth Party Congress.
“The order was conveyed to all factory, enterprise, collective farm, and provincial, city and county people’s committees,” said the source. “But one member of the [Yanggang] provincial people’s committee said the situation is hopeless and asked how ordinary factories outside of big enterprises were to carry out plans when all the machinery [in factories] have stopped.”
He added: “Now’s the time when we all have to make efforts to accomplish [the decisions of] the Eighth Party Congress, but people are just sitting around nervously – not out of a lack of loyalty but because of the [country’s stark] realities and a lack of wherewithal to do anything.”