Gazprom introduces new domestic market rules
A Ministry of Economy regulation lifted restrictions (used as a regulatory instrument) on the maximum level of gas prices for businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Free gas pricing came into effect on April 18, 2012.
The impact of the new regulation will be limited, due to the fact that administrative price regulation is preserved on gas sales to gas suppliers - members of Beltopgas, as well as to large and “preferred” consumers. Nevertheless, the very fact that Gazprom managed to lobby the abolition of pricing restrictions, though still for a limited number of companies, is very significant.
Therefore Gazprom continues wringing the best economic conditions for itself, while the government unprecedentedly meets its wishes: consumers make gas payments in foreign currency, extra charges increased, and, now free pricing of gas to consumers outside the Beltopgas system has been introduced.
A Ministry of Economy regulation of January 20, 2012 No 9 has set preferential gas price for nitrogen fertilizers producers at $ 218.24 per thousand cubic meters. Beltransgaz sells gas at $ 275.87 per thousand cubic meters (excluding VAT) to all other business entities.
Beltopgas organizations will sell gas at $ 275.87 per thousand cubic meters to enterprises and entrepreneurs, which consumed less than 500 million cubic meters of natural gas in 2011. Legal entities and entrepreneurs, consuming natural gas above the limits set for the replacement of natural gas with oil fuel and other local fuels, will pay $ 375.18 per thousand cubic meters. In 2012 Belarus imports gas at $ 165 per thousand cubic meters.
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.