Belarusian state budget to fail income tax plan for 2016
According to the Finance Ministry, in January-February 2016, the national budget received BYR 300.6 billion from income tax payments or 3.3% of the projected amount for 2016. The low proceeds from income tax were due to the economy’s losses, which exceeded BYR 20 trillion. Following the adoption of the decree on writing off foreign exchange rate differences, the number of profitable enterprises is expected to increase. Compared with 2015, budgetary proceeds from income tax are likely to reduce due to further deterioration of price terms on foreign markets. In Q1 2016, the state budget expenditures are likely to be readjusted due to the expected shortfall in tax payments, and investment programmes of enterprises using own funds are likely to be reviewed. The state is likely to attempt to compensate for reduced income tax revenues by increasing the tax burden on profitable businesses and enhancing audit.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.