State support is unlikely to help Belarusian cement industry
According to the State Control Committee, in recent years the state has allocated over USD 1 billion for the modernization and state support for the cement industry, however its production volumes have not increased. All three cement plants in Belarus are loss making and have a significant amount of overdue debt for energy resources. However, the state is set to continue to support the cement industry, albeit the volume of financial support will be reduced. In addition, the state may introduce administrative barriers for imported cement, including from Russia. Despite all these measures, one of the three cement plants is likely to suspend its activity, which may lead to 1000 people losing their jobs in 2016. Amid decline in the housing construction, existing facilities cannot be used in full due to the lack of opportunities for cement export growth and budget cuts on infrastructure projects.
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.