Chairman of the upper House of the Parliament Anatoly Rubinov visited Lida of the Grodno region
On 13 May Lida hosted a meeting of the Council for Cooperation of Local Self-Governments under the auspices of the Council of the Republic “Efforts of Local Councils of Deputies of Lida region in creating favourable conditions for development of tourist and excursion services and rural tourism”, opened by its Chairman of the Board Anatoly Rubinov.
Recent initiatives of the local authorities aimed at the development of tourism in the region. Regardless of the existing development programme in this regard and some positive changes, the effect of its implementation remains low. The currency crisis and lack of resources to address it, finally forced the central authorities to look into possible ways of attracting foreign currency into the country more seriously. In 2010 export of services amounted to USD 146.7 million, about 4 million foreigners visited Belarus. Today any source of foreign currency is important.
Yet on 11 May the Yanka Kupala Grodno State University hosted a meeting to discuss the status and prospects of development of tourism in the Grodno region with participation of the Director of the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, and on 13 May the same issue was discussed between local government representatives with participation of Senators. Indeed, the Grodno region has a significant amount of cultural and historical sites remained, that could attract foreigners, moreover, there is a significant potential for development of agro-and ecotourism, and given the situation of currency crisis it could positively affect the unemployment.
However, given the role the local Councils of Deputies play in the system of local governance, the Senators’ meeting with representatives of local government was only a declaration of the desire to change the situation, not implying significant changes. Currently the Grodno local government is not interested in developing small businesses that do not generate significant tax revenue to the local budgets.
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.