Беларусь Сегодня

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Three solutions for one problem

The country’s major wealth is its people, able to work professionally in their chosen field: this has always been the case and we expect it will continue.
The country’s major wealth is its people, able to work professionally in their chosen field: this has always been the case and we expect it will continue.

Human self-development is extremely vital for society. It has been calculated that if a person drops out of employment and society, over the years of their life they will cost society over $100,000. At the same time, a law-abiding and economically active citizen is able to bring more than $6m benefit to their country during their lifetime.

Our social policy is based on two principles — fairness and solidarity. Fairness means an equal right for assistance (in education, treatment and protection) which is guaranteed by the state regardless of the receivers’ incomes, while solidarity means re-distribution of the budget: a working person pays for a pensioner, while each healthy person pays for the sick and each adult pays for a child. Foreign experts frequently comment on our high level of social development, which depends on medicine, personal security, provision of housing, water, communications, etc. In this respect, our country considerably outstrips even such resource-rich countries as Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

These achievements will become even more significant if budget incomes increase, so it’s important for a society to understand that it’s not only the Motherland which will always protect, feed and clothe us, but there’s also a strict ‘father’ who will ask for efficiency and motivation. There can’t be any comforts for those who choose to be idle.

The most important thing is to act systematically in the interests of the whole society and take into account the economic situation so that the number of people taking from the budget doesn’t exceed those contributing to it. To achieve this, at first we need to determine what to do with those who don’t pay social taxes and what is the reason for this. The fact that a large number of people work abroad, shows not only the high potential for employment of Belarusians, but is also positive for the budget, since these people could have been unemployed at home. They have themselves found their place in the system of market relations; they bring currency to the country, buy flats and build houses, teach their children and make purchases at home. The task is only to make this form of self-employment more acceptable, both for people and the state.

The simplest solution, but short-term in effect, is penalties. A more civilised solution is a person’s buying from the state a licence for self-employment without business registration for tax purposes. Meanwhile, the best, although a complex solution, is the state assisting people whose skills and intelligence are in demand on the domestic and external markets, in employment legalisation through the establishment of special outsourcing centres, similar to the High-Tech Park. The major goal of such innovation is to ensure the legal employment of citizens abroad, i.e. to enhance the level of their legal protection while simultaneously ensuring budget revenues through the export of labour resources, the preparation of which the state has spent much funds and time on. At present, programmers of the High-Tech Park (who work for exports) bring more revenue to the country than all the free economic zones. Nevertheless, skilled workers are no less appreciated and can bring considerable benefits. The issues need to be considered as a matter of importance.

By Boris Panshin
Professor at the Belarusian State University’s Economic Department

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