Belarusian authorities attempt to prevent politicisation of tax on ’parasites’

August 31, 2016 15:09

The Belarusian authorities seem willing to revise their unpopular and most controversial initiatives aiming to boost budgetary proceeds due to risks of growing political demands among the population during the parliamentary campaign. Apparently, the damage to the state’s reputation is likely to exceed the revenue from the tax on ‘parasites’. The authorities are likely to prevent those who are discontent with the decree on ‘parasites’ from becoming opposition supporters.

Last week, senator Mikhail Myasnikovich proposed to introduce a patent system for the self-employed in Belarus.

The decree on ‘parasites’ has only marginally achieved the stated objectives to withdraw workers from the shadow economy and to replenish the state budget. Apparently the authorities have been unable to elaborate efficient mechanisms to identify ‘parasites’ and to force them to pay the tax. While the authorities claimed 445000 potential ‘parasite’ tax payers, only 4000 people have voluntarily ‘admitted’ to parasitism.

Amid mass layoffs at large state enterprises, reduced living standard and pressure on private entrepreneurs, the voters’ reaction to the tax on the unemployed was ambiguous. The authorities are attempting to reduce the growing response to the opposition candidates’ campaign among the discontented citizens. Some opposition candidates efficiently use unpopular governmental initiatives in order to mobilise the potential protest groups. The opposition candidates are likely to gain more support among disgruntled citizens.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to revise their approaches to Belarus’ socio-economic development due to public outcry amplified by campaigns of opposition parliamentary candidates.

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