Reducing VAT refund delay to 60 days may reduce prices on imported products
According to the decree No 396 of October 28th, 2016, as of January 1st, 2017, the delay in VAT refund will be reduce from 90 to 60 days. The delay in VAT refund was introduced in order to make imported goods more expensive. When importing goods outside the EEU, importing companies are crediting the state with import VAT, hence, they are prompted to take bank loans. Thanks to the new regulation, imported goods are likely to become less costly - by the cost of a one-one and a half months loan. Importers may take fewer loans and the state will start seeking for extra budgetary funds in order to bridge the gap from reduced VAT receipts in Q1 2017. If Belarus continues to advance with the WTO accession, and if budget revenues improve, this discriminatory measure against imported goods could be abandoned.
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.