Bad debts of industrial enterprises to Belarusian banks will be masked through bonds
Belarusian Steel Works has issued bonds with total worth USD 240.5 million for a five-year maturity period at 7% per annum in order to refinance outstanding loans to the Belarusian banks. With this operation the enterprise aimed to reduce service costs of previously issued loans and to repay possible arrears. Other enterprises with a significant debt load are likely to copy the Steel Works’ practice. Banks may force enterprises to transfer their debt into bonds, so that enterprises could use the saved money to repay debts, including on taxes and duties, and for energy. The main risk in such a practice is that banks’ foreign currency accounts could be frozen if the population continues to withdraw its currency deposits, which may require additional resources from the parent banks and foreign markets.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.