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Viktar Marhelau: We killed consumer demand inside the country

19.08.2016  |  Economy   |  Aliaksei Jurych,  EuroBelarus
Viktar Marhelau: We killed consumer demand inside the country

In the situation of everyone’s impoverishment administrative procedures are now being perceived painfully.

According to the results of the working group on simplification of administrative procedures for businesses, which was established by order of the Prime Minister as of March21, state bodies suggest to cancel more than 40 administrative procedures in Belarus.

Besides, state agencies offer to reduce the list of documents, time and cost of the 25 activated procedures, and change 65 administrative procedures to e-format. Now the Ministry of Economy is analyzing and systematizing the received proposals.

Viktar Marhelau, the Co-Chair of the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship, believes that the administrative procedures are not the primary cause of all our troubles.

Viktar Marhelau told about it in the interview with the "EuroBelarus" Information Service.

- Belarus wants to cancel more than 40 administrative business procedures. What particular procedures are in question? Will their abolition make life of small and medium businesses easier?

- Uladzimir Kariagin is one of the members of the working group; substantive negotiations are under way. I suspect that the negotiations are going on without his participation. Personally, I don’t have any information about any particular procedures in question.

If we manage to reduce the number and cost of administrative procedures (this is possible as a result of severe compromises: each procedure is disputed in a real battle), this step will be a major plus. In 2007, we have reduced more than 500 administrative procedures; however, over the passed time their number increased by 200 points. So the question about how to cut them, reduce their cost, accelerate and simplify them arose again. Any action in this direction is supported.

- According to a recent study by the IPM Research Center, the optimism of small and medium-sized enterprises is rapidly declining. The main complaints are that the government copes with the task of eliminating administrative barriers the worst.

- I agree that the optimism is declining. But I think that it would be wrong to say that all the problems are related to administrative procedures.

The situation is complicated; it should be viewed in complex, because it is tied to many sectors of the economy. The main problem lies in the fact that we’ve killed the consumer demand inside the country. It has opened way to all the other problems: defaults, ruin of business and everything else. In the situation of everyone’s impoverishment administrative procedures are now being perceived painfully: if earlier it was possible to pay for everything, now it isn’t. But the administrative procedures are not the cause of all our troubles.

- Most small and medium-sized enterprises have indicated a negative trend in enterprises’ development (the number of medium-sized enterprises and employment is reducing) and the deterioration of the business environment over the past year.

- In 2015, in comparison with 2014 the number of small enterprises has decreased by approximately 30%. The main criterion for the development of entrepreneurship in Belarus was always quantity; if even it falls, what other criteria should we apply? A reduction in the number of small businesses has begun in 2015, in 2016, I think, that trend continues, even if slowed down.

- Can the reduction of administrative procedures improve the situation in the small and medium business?

- They play a certain role, but not the only one and not the most important.

- What should we do first to stop the destruction of entrepreneurship?

- The government is implementing priority measures in the second turn. The problem should be solved in complex.

A working group of 49 people was formed and is actively working on the strategy of business development, where we will try to solve the problem in complex. Big work with enterprises will be carried out, in result of which immediate proposals will be formed. We plan to finish the work on the strategy of business development till February 2017; there is also a counter-proposal to develop the strategy before the new year. But it’s a huge piece of work...

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