Belarus is ready to relax business environment to boost employment
Drafts amendments envisaging simplification of rules for doing business have been published in Belarus. If adopted, the amendments would introduce a notification procedure for starting some kind of businesses; a moratorium on new taxes and fees would be announced for 2018-2020; proposals to further reduce the tax burden on business would be developed. The amendments are likely to be adopted following consultations with business representatives. If adopted, the amendments could lead to an increase in new regional SMEs in trade, catering and agro-ecotourism. In the short-term, the amendments are unlikely to have a significant impact on the labour market. In addition, a reduction in the number of audits and inspections would not affect government’s plans for listing penalties in the budget. Attempts to liberalize business could be linked to the inability of the state bodies to ensure full employment in Belarus. By relaxing business environment, the state is attempting to stimulate self-employment among the population in order to reduce the burden on the budget in anticipation of further layoffs at state 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.