President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a directive № 4 "On the development of entrepreneurship and stimulating business activity in Belarus" on December 31, 2010. As it became known to Telegraf, the document aims to "further liberalization of the economy, the liberation of business initiative and creativity of citizens".
The Directive of the President of the Republic of Belarus № 4
On the development of entrepreneurial initiatives
and stimulating business activity in
Our country is famous for its hardworking, educated and talented people. They can not only significantly improve the welfare and quality of life of people in Belarus through their activities, but also to ensure economic growth and security of our nation.
Creating an enabling environment for business is a major strategic factor in sustainable socio-economic development of the republic.
Liberation of business initiatives and creativity of citizens contribute to the formation of competitive environment, the introduction of new production and management technologies, innovative development, job creation, the saturation of the market with goods and services, the increase of tax revenues to the state budget and, finally, welfare and quality of life.
Obvious positive changes in the definition of business rules, aiming at improving the business climate and investment attractiveness of our state, have recently taken place in socio-economic development of the Republic of Belarus.
Measures to liberalize the economic activities, eliminate unnecessary government interference in the activities of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs, as well as to abolish unjustified administrative barriers to business development initiatives, are being consistently implemented. The new value is added to a dialogue between business and government to develop solutions in the field of economic development and stimulating business activity.
However, a lot is to be done for further liberalization of economic activity in order to ensure the dynamic development of the Belarusian economy.
The state needs to take measures to significantly raise the role of entrepreneurship, actually increase its contribution to the formation of economic growth and ensuring high efficiency of the Belarusian economy by means of private initiative.
It is no coincidence that the development of human potential, initiative and enterprise is one of the priorities of socio-economic development of Belarus in the next five years. It means a full-fledged partnership of private and public ownership, which is achieved by improving the business climate for all business entities (public and private, domestic and foreign) and by the creation of barrier-free business environment, in the end.
The main principle in this sphere is as follows: competition — wherever possible, government regulation — where necessary.
The following steps are needed in order to further liberalize the Belarusian economy, improve competitiveness and create favorable conditions for a dynamic and sustainable development:
1. Ensure further development of fair business entities’ competition regardless of ownership. For these purposes:
1.1. it is necessary to:
make the transition to market pricing mechanisms, improving the quality and competitiveness of goods (works, services);
eliminate the interference of government in the process of price formation of business entities;
abolish the bonus limitation in the wholesale and retail trade, as well as mandatory preparation of feasibility of used prices (tariffs) for goods (works, services);
preserve state regulation of prices only on products of monopoly organizations and socially important goods (works, services), defining the standard of living;
1.2. prevent the establishment of inter-regional and other regional restrictions in the implementation of trade in goods, works (services);
1.3. conduct an open competition and antitrust policy, aimed at the prevention of monopolistic activity and unfair competition, as well as achievement of the effective functioning of commodity markets;
1.4. provide an introduction of e-registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs to the Republic of Belarus, including the creation of a Web-portal of the Unified State Register of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs of the Republic of Belarus.
2. Take the most serious measures to protect and promote private ownership. Create conditions for the smooth implementation of the business, including:
2.1. ensure preservation of property rights and use of this property to bona fide purchasers of property. Herewith:
exclude the adoption (publication) of regulations, providing for the confiscation of property during the commission of administrative offenses, if these offenses are not related to illicit trafficking of such property;
to prohibit the confiscation, seizure of property from business entities, being bona fide purchasers. If there is a dispute about the bona fide purchaser, that category of cases should be considered in the courts on a priority basis;
prohibit acts, aimed at depriving (termination) of property rights of business entities, including the forcible transfer of funds from the accounts (except for the collection of taxes, dues (duties), other payments to the budget, the state budget funds or payments, made in accordance with international treaties of the Republic of Belarus), in the absence of an enforceable decision (ruling) of the court;
guarantee the irreversibility of the privatization of state assets, provided for the compliance of the privatization entity with legal requirements;
2.2. ensure the simplification of procedures for granting land to business entities;
2.3. provide business entities, engaged in investment projects on creation of roadside service facilities, with land tax (rent for the land) within two years after the construction of such facilities, other benefits similar to those, established for organizations, engaged in productive activities in rural areas and small towns;
investors from paying land tax (rent) for the land, occupied by construction, for the time of construction of such facilities, as well as carrying out design work;
legal persons and individual entrepreneurs from fees for the right to sign the land lease contract for the transfer of the pledged capital structure (buildings), suspended capital structure, located on the leased land, with no fee for the right to sign the lease;
2.5. ensure alienation of real estate and uncompleted construction objects, being in the public domain and not use more than two years, to investors (in their implementation of investment projects) for a baseline value by the proposals of the local executive and administrative bodies;
2.6. grant a priority right to purchase state-owned property (except land) to business entity, renting the property for at least three years, with payment by installments over five years.
The sale cost of the lease state-owned object to the tenant (excluding land) shall be reduced by the costs, incurred by the tenant on the improvement and consumer qualities of the object, if these improvements are counted when determining the appraised value but not reimbursed to the tenant;
2.7. legislate that the implementation of tenant’s permanent improvements to leased state property is not grounds for him increasing the rent;
2.8. establish a common information base on unused state property for sale and rent during 2011, and make a free access to this property for all users of the World Wide Web.
3. Eliminate unnecessary administrative barriers in the interaction of state bodies and legal persons and citizens. For this purpose:
3.1. drastically reduce the number of administrative procedures, implemented in respect of business entities, including by ensuring the implementation of «one window» principle;
3.2. prevent the establishment and enforcement of the administrative procedures, not covered by laws and treaties of the Republic of Belarus, decisions of the Heads of State and Government of the Republic of Belarus in respect of legal persons and individual entrepreneurs;
3.3. ensure the maximum expansion of the scope of electronic document:
in the implementation of administrative procedures for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs on a free basis;
in the system of taxes, dues (duties) and other mandatory payments to the budget and state extra-budgetary funds, minimizing the cost of taxpayers with the creation and development of the Belarusian National Bank’s State control system of public keys of digital signatures’ verification;
the implementation of economic justice;
3.4. create a single online resource of administrative procedures, committed in relation to legal persons and individual entrepreneurs, providing the opportunity for free receipt forms of documents, required for the implementation of these procedures;
3.5. declare mainly the conformity of the goods with the required safety and quality requirements directly by manufacturers, importers and sellers with their full responsibility for safety and quality of goods;
3.6. recognize certificates of conformity and other documents, proving the conformity of products with mandatory requirements, which are issued in the member-states of the Customs Union and the countries — parties to relevant international instruments, in the Republic of Belarus.
4. Complete the harmonization of the tax system of the Republic of Belarus with the one in European countries. Make tax laws stimulating conscientious performance of tax obligations and business initiative. Extend the application of international standards in accounting with its drastic reduction in the Republic of Belarus. For these purposes:
4.1. ensure the ongoing work to reduce the tax burden, including the distribution of the pension insurance burden between employers and employees;
4.2. ensure the introduction of the tax system mechanisms, enabling taxpayers, who incurred losses (including in early work), to minimize them at the expense of future profits;
4.3. create innovation funds solely through contributions of organizations, subordinated to (affiliated, or having parts of state ownership in authorized capital) the state bodies, as well as public organizations, subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus;
4.4. take measures to improve the scope of the simplified tax system, providing its application in the amount of gross income not more than Br12 billion for 2011. Regularly review the size limits of revenue in subsequent years;
4.5. give the right to mikroorganizations, applying the simplified tax system with the payment of value added tax, to conduct a simplified account of payment of this tax without mandatory accounting in the normal manner;
4.6. achieve a significant reduction of primary records and the number of details in them;
4.7. increase the maximum amount of proceeds from the sale of goods (works, services) for business entities, subject to mandatory audit by the criterion of total revenues;
4.8. enforce a broad-based international financial reporting standards in accounting in the Republic of Belarus;
4.9. abolish the requirements for business entities of mandatory cash deposit in bank, agreement of cash limits in hand and (for small businesses) the use of cash proceeds.
5. Make the control (supervisory) activity preventive in nature, use predominantly preventive measures, aimed at preventing crime in entrepreneurial activity. For this purpose:
5.1. protect the rights of managers of businesses to business risk;
5.2.1. checks should not violate the industrial and economic activities of the audited business entities. Any suspension of activity can be:
carried out only in certain legal cases by the specifically authorized control (supervisory) authority or court solely for the purpose of national security, life and health of citizens, as well as environmental protection;
extended only by court order;
5.2.2. routine inspections entities must be held once every five years in respect to business entities, conscientiously fulfilling the obligations to the budget without any violations of the law;
5.3. while monitoring and carrying out other similar activities, not inspections, control (supervisory) authorities are forbidden to exercise the use of powers, granted to these bodies to carry out inspections, in respect of subjects of entrepreneurial activity;
5.4. not to apply preventive punishment in the form of detention for those, accused of committing less serious crimes against the order of economic activity (except for manufacturing, storage or sale of counterfeit money or securities, smuggling and the legalization (laundering) of property, criminally obtained) — if these persons do not hide from the bodies of preliminary investigation, and (or) the court;
5.5. review the current administrative and criminal penalties for violations in the field of business, ensuring the proportionality of liability nature of the offense and the extent of the damage caused, including by:
lowering the minimum and maximum fines for administrative offenses in business activity;
refinement and specification of mitigating and aggravating circumstances’ lists. It’s necessary to legally provide double reduction of fines in administrative law under mitigating circumstances, including the cases of voluntary compensation or remedy of the harm, arising out of the offense, or other adverse consequences of such an offense, or the person’s discharge of certain obligations (even later), committing administrative offense by an individual, caused by difficult personal, family or other circumstances;
broadening the scope of such type of administrative responsibility, as a warning on violations of a formal nature, not involving non-payment (partial payment) of taxes, dues (duties) and other payments to the budget, state off-budget funds, or causing other physical harm;
exclusion of regulations from Part 12 of the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Administrative Offences, providing for the confiscation of property, being out of ownership of the person, committed an administrative violation;
exception of administrative liability of legal persons and individual entrepreneurs for administrative violations, not relevant to any benefit’s receipt;
5.6. ensure the suspension of bringing to liability, provided by Article 23.17 of the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Administrative Offences for violation of the order of trademark drawing (design), as well as waybills, payment instructions and other primary records prior to the entry into force of the law on amending the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Administrative Offences and the Procedural-Executive Code of the Republic of Belarus on Administrative Offences;
5.7. Council of Ministers, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court, the State Control Committee, the General Prosecutor’s Office, National Bank, the Office of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the National Statistics Committee, the local executive and administrative bodies to organize a systematic constructive interaction of control (supervision) bodies and business associations ( unions, associations) on the practical application and improvement of legislation, regulating administrative responsibility.
6. Improve infrastructure and financing of small businesses in order to enhance business activity and ensure effective support for business (legal, organizational and financial), particularly at early stages, as well as at the stages of personal business formation. Generate economic incentives for participation of private ownership, public associations, including business associations in the development of business environment.
7. Eliminate unnecessary regulation of the labor market. For these purposes:
7.1. expand the rights of employers to establish flexible payment terms for employees, taking into account the maximum effectiveness of the contribution of each employee and financial capacity of business entities;
7.2. add a recommendation character to the application of the employees’ Unified tariff network of the Republic of Belarus;
7.3. expand the use of flexible forms of employment;
7.4. include the promotion of entrepreneurial initiative and other activities of citizens in all spheres of the economy in training programs for managers and specialists of state bodies;
7.5. establish an effective national system of business education. Give the right to carry out training in management and entrepreneurship with self-setting time and certificate of such training to non-profit organizations, including business associations (unions, associations) and business support centers.
8. Form a legal framework, promoting development of public-private partnership in the Republic of Belarus.
9. Provide unambiguous legal regulation and stability of legislation and improve the quality of the preparation of normative legal acts, regulating business activities. For these purposes:
9.1. establish that courts, other state agencies and governmental organizations, as well as officials decide in favor of businesses and citizens in case of uncertainty or fuzziness of legislative acts’ requirements;
9.2. when adopting normative legal acts (the preparation of relevant projects), strengthening and (or) changing business conditions, the effective date of such regulations should be established on the basis of a reasonable time for business entities to prepare for the implementation of activities in accordance with the requirements, set by the normative legal acts, but usually not earlier than three months from the date of their official publication (except where such regulations are aimed at ensuring economic security, and (or) the implementation of international treaties of the Republic of Belarus, as well as improvement of the legal status of business entities);
9.3. exclude retroactivity from the normative legal acts, regulating the business (business, economic) activity, except for acts, mitigating or annulling the responsibility for the offense in entrepreneurial and other activities, or otherwise improving the conditions for such activities;
9.4. enter into the practice of the republican government and other state organizations, subordinated to the Government of the Republic of Belarus, regional and Minsk city executive committee of mandatory public discussion of draft legislative acts, which may have a significant impact on the conditions of doing business, including through the establishment of public consultation and (or) advisory councils with representatives of business entities and their associations (unions, associations) for these public bodies ( organizations), as well as placing these projects on the official websites of government agencies and other organizations in the global computer network and (or) the media.
10. The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus jointly with the National Bank, voblast executive committees and Minsk City Executive Committee to develop and approve a plan of action to implement the provisions of this Directive, indicating the executors and deadlines, within three months.
State bodies and other organizations to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Directive, including the preparation of draft laws and regulations.
11. Make the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, Chairman of the National Bank, the Chairpersons of voblast and Minsk city executive committee personally responsible for implementing this Directive.
12. Make the State Control Committee responsible for monitoring the implementation of this Directive.
Given the importance of the role of entrepreneurship in the socio-economic development of the country, I summon:
all state regulatory authorities, local councils of deputies of all levels, public associations and citizens to actively assist in implementing the provisions of this Directive.
Only joint efforts, initiative and responsible attitude to the work will help to ensure sustained economic growth of Belarus and to enhance the welfare of its citizens.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
December 31, 2010