By Roman Andrievsky
Liberalisation has already led to growth of entrepreneurial activity. The Government hopes that, in the future, Belarus’ small businesses will grow in number and in quality. It’s no surprise, since so much is at stake: every new firm guarantees jobs, goods and services. Moreover, revenue generated feeds the budget, allowing us to spend more on social needs. The declarative principle of company registration — which came into force about 18 months ago — is already yielding fruit. Since early 2009, the number of small enterprises has risen by 15,000 (or 25 percent) in Belarus; most are registered in small towns or, even, villages (where additional preferences are granted by the state).
As before, about 40 percent of small businesses work in public catering and trade. However, their share is gradually falling, with industry, construction and transport proving ever more popular. From early 2011, some turnover taxes are to be abolished in Belarus and, as forecast, the tax burden should fall by 0.4 percent of GDP. Moreover, it will be possible to pay profit tax once a quarter (rather than once a month).
The Ministry of Taxes and Duties says that, in the first seven months of 2010, the share of taxes paid by small businesses totalled 20 percent, including 17.4 percent paid by legal entities and 2.6 percent by individual entrepreneurs. No doubt, their contribution to the economy will grow. In order for top entrepreneurs to meet these goals, liberalisation should continue. We need to simplify the procedure of purchasing and building private property while easing access to loans.