Additional tax on working population would reduce Social Security Fund deficit but unlikely to support unemployed
The Labour Ministry proposed to create an insurance fund within the Social Security Fund for Population at 0.5% of the payroll, which would ensure that people, who had lost their job, received at least 60% of the most recent wage for up to six months. Taking into account current wage level and employment in the economy, the additional tax burden on enterprises would total circa BYN 125-130 million. In 2016, more than 100 000 people were laid off on a net basis, which means the planned amount would not cover the need in benefits. It would be reasonable to expect that the authorities continue to increase the tax burden on profitable enterprises. Unemployment benefits are likely to increase too, albeit without being tied to the most recent wage. Meanwhile, by reducing the Social Security Fund deficit, the authorities would reduce budgetary assistance to the Fund. Creating an insurance fund would not solve the unemployment issue, as only a sufficient number of jobs in the economy would make it possible to avoid the increased tax burden on enterprises.
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.