MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) – New rules for doing business and how they are supposed to move towards civilized trade or manufacturing should be explained to self-employed businessmen one more time. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during the government conference held on 24 January to discuss the social and political situation and the crime rate in the country, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the situation concerning self-employed businessmen as a matter of current interest. They are supposed to work according to new rules as of 2023. But it seems that not all of them fully understand why and how working conditions have changed. This is why the head of state instructed officials to talk to the businesspersons and explain everything in detail one more time. “Igor Petrovich [Sergeyenko, Head of the Belarus President Administration], the government has to be instructed one more time, you have to make sure our policy regarding self-employed businessmen is explained to them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
In his words, changes concerning self-employed businessmen were declared in advance and this category of the private sector had plenty of time to prepare for them. “We didn't make the decision instantaneously. 1 January came and we did the first step. Some self-employed businessmen started worrying: we've been stomped on once again. Nobody stomps on you. It is just the plan we've announced earlier.”
Belarus has come to realize that marketplace selling is a thing of the past when people had to do business, sell things in this way. Such forms of entrepreneurship are not popular in other countries. “Marketplace sellers undertook quite a burden. They kept bringing goods in sacks and bags to sell, provide, and so on. We generated up to 200,000 of them in our country,” the head of state said.
“Some self-employed businessmen (we've taken a look at them) have become much larger bourgeoisie then those, who keep factories and plants running these days. For instance, Amkodor. They are worlds apart if we compare it to self-employed businessmen. We already see imbalance [in support for self-employed businessmen]. They have to work in a civilized manner,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Time has come when the work of self-employed businessmen has to change, the president is convinced. “We've decided that self-employed businessmen have to move one level higher and pay taxes just like all the natural and legal persons do,” he stated.
Then there are also craftsmen, people, who make exceptional products with their hands. And they have the right to sell their goods at any price they can sell them at, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. “Those are unique people, whom we should support. We've agreed to leave them alone. But all the other ones have to pay taxes as intended,” he said.
“We will bring it into compliance this year, within several months. Without offending anyone. What you have earned as of today will not be taken away from you, provided you don't break the law, of course,” the head of state stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to meet with the self-employed businessmen community and talk to them once again. “They should be treated in a civilized and humane manner. They just need an explanation of how we are going to move them towards civilized trade or manufacturing,” he said. “We have to talk to them. We cannot… When some time comes and they become crazy and will once again take to the streets without understanding while we will have to fight them. We have to forestall such things.”