Enhancement of the administrative control
Decree No 114 of February 27, 2012, empowered the local authorities and the Pricing Policy Department of the Ministry of Economy of Belarus to organize ad hoc inspections of enterprises “in order to timely detect and suppress violations of anti-monopoly legislation”.
Moreover, such inspections could be organized regardless of the grounds stipulated in the legislation. The decree envisages severe penalties for violations of antitrust legislation and unfair competition.
The authorities believe such ad hoc inspections will allow them to detect and deter cases of violation of the legislation, including facts of price collusion, violations of prohibitions, and (or) restrictions on the sale of goods (works, services) introduced by the government in some administrative regions of Belarus. The Decree also envisages strengthening of the penalties for violation of the anti-monopoly legislation.
Therefore, any manufacturer could be accused of a monopoly (if share of sales is more than 30%) therefore tightening of the legislation could be interpreted as an attempt to treat high prices and inflation with increased repression.
This is a new/old logic of the authorities: instead of liberalization, privatization and the simplification of the business environment, opening markets to foreign competition, they introduce new restrictions and new (ad hoc) inspections. It contradicts the generally declared intention to liberalize the economy and casts the country two years behind in its attempt to liberalize the pricing policy.
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.