1180 small industrial enterprises in one year
Presidential Decree No 6 has created considerably favourable legal frameworks for the development of small and medium enterprises and provided significant benefits for new businesses. However the Government concluded that these measures failed to make a difference to the regional development. It is a mistake to plan the number of enterprises to be set up and as a consequence, results are neutralized by sabotaging the implementation of such plan.
At a Council of Ministers’ meeting called to discuss the country’s socio-economic development Prime Minister Myasnikovich tasked to create at least 10 enterprises in each region employing at least 50 persons each.
Belarus is divided into 118 districts. To fulfill the order, by 2013 1180 enterprises need to be set up. Moreover, they have to be industrial enterprises. In the beginning of 2012 there were 11667 SMEs (employing 15 to 100 people) in Belarus, 3453 of them were industrial.
Prime Minister has not clarified why there was a need in such a huge number of enterprises. Also there is no indication of funding origin, while setting up one work place is assessed at USD 20-25 thousand. Therefore, in order to implement this task, about USD 1 billion is needed. The task ignores availability of labour force issue and the feasibility of having 10 enterprises in a region.
Private business always calculates its activities’ cost-effectiveness. Therefore the lack of initiative in setting up new enterprise should have been an indication to the government about existence of certain problems with creating new businesses. Instead, the government makes an administrative decision to set up the required number of enterprises.
While trying to fulfill the task, medium and large businesses might face fragmentation into smaller enterprises. Also there is a risk of creation ineffective enterprises, due to the lack of proper business plans and inefficient use of government funds by governmental agencies as local authorities will try to solve the task by seeking funds primarily in the local budget, and focus on quantity parameters rather than effective performance. The best solution would be to repeal this absurd decision or sabotage its implementation.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.