However perfect the documentation of entrepreneurs is, inspectors will collect fines at any cost.
Entrepreneurs are still hoping to build bridges with the government. Forum of Entrepreneurs “Entrepreneurs and power: an open dialogue on strengthening and developing trust” held on June 13 in Minsk by the RPA “Perspective”, put forward a series of final demands.
For example, the Forum demanded to introduce veto power over all government decisions that affect business. He also demanded safe conduct of the entrepreneurs’ property and the termination of the confiscation of goods, as well as inviting the RPA “Perspective” representatives to the Council for Entrepreneurship Development under the President and Public Advisory Councils under Ministries to monitor the rule-making of what is affecting the entrepreneurs’ interests.
Anatoly Shumchanka, the leader of the RPA “Perspective”, told about the situation in the business environment, about expectations and concerns of entrepreneurs in an interview with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.
- Entrepreneurs have the most alarming expectations. The working group at the Ministry of Economy announced that starting from July 1 e-invoices are introduced for entrepreneurs, and that caused panic among individual entrepreneurs.
Minor checks were conducted in Mahilieu – and all stalls got closed at the speed of sound. The atmosphere is tense; the relations between the individual entrepreneurs and the authorities are far from ideal. The situation is further aggravated by the uncertainty that awaits entrepreneurs from 1 July.
"Entrepreneurial problem" is conserved; if mass control of individual entrepreneurs resumes winter scenario can be repeated.
- Is the alarm caused by the end of the moratorium on control checks?
- Who told you that a moratorium was introduced? Control checks have never ceased. It’s just that the "Perspective" managed to reverse the situation with invoices in the Supreme Court, thus winning some time.
Control of certificates from July 1 is generating tension even more. Entrepreneurs don’t trust the authorities, as however perfect the documentation of entrepreneurs is, inspectors will collect fines at any cost.
Well, the authorities did make some concessions: canceled e-invoices, for example. Such concessions can only be welcomed. However, in the times of the single tax entrepreneurs felt at least some immunity, whereas now the trust that the authorities disrupted in winter is very difficult to restore.
- Is there statistics as to how many entrepreneurs went out of business over the last six months?
- Unfortunately, there is no such data. However, as it was reported at the Forum of Entrepreneurs, since the beginning of 2016 the share of private business sector in the Belarus’ retail trade turnover decreased by approximately 3%.
If we evaluate the overall picture, at least 30-40 percent of job places got reduced. The damage to the Belarusian entrepreneurship is enormous. Although it seems to me, such situation is typical for many: business is liquidated, not being able to withstand the hardships of the economic crisis.
- Do you really expect the government to fulfill the requirements of the Forum of Entrepreneurs?
- We have much hope in common sense that will eventually prevail. No one will change the conditions of entrepreneurs’ work, however, there small concessions from the government might take place.
Forum of Entrepreneurs demanded to eliminate the network of shops of confiscated goods, which is, clearly, virtually impossible; however, constant dropping wears away the stone.
If the government will reduce fines by 50% and stop confiscating goods as we require, we will have to cut back on controlling authorities to rely on business development. It’s unrealistic to ask ourselves whether the authorities will do that.
Putting business interests above the interests of the bureaucracy is unacceptable for today’s authorities, even though we should aim at global standards.
On behalf of the business community Forum of Entrepreneurs demanded to introduce veto power over all government decisions that affect business. In our country, it seems unreal, whereas the entire civilized world is successfully developing in accordance with these rules.
We are realists. But everyone must talk about our problems: the stronger our voice is, the higher are the chances to realize our program. However, the realization of our demands depends on the people. Look at the attendance of Forums: in the middle of the hot debate Forums were attended by thousands of entrepreneurs, while now, when the tension declined a little, only 140 people came. It’s hard to stand up for your rights with this attitude in the state that recognizes only the law of power rather than the power of law.
- To sum it up: The situation surrounding individual entrepreneurs will be worsening, and business activity will be falling?
- No, it’s not right. The situation is uncertain; winter confrontation between employers and the authorities showed that we should avoid the extreme methods of struggle: both sides suffered from too many losses. However, entrepreneurial activity will always take place: the harder we are pressurized, the harder will be the response.