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					8                                                                            ECONOMY                                                                                                   The Minsk Times Thursday, November 4, 2010




Business climate
becomes warmer
According to the World Bank, Belarus is among the leading states reforming their business
conditions. Last year alone, 56 legal acts were adopted in the country — all simplifying
and stimulating entrepreneurial activity. The Government continues its work to make the
country attractive for investors — both domestic and foreign. This September, some new
progressive documents were adopted, referring to licensing and taxation. Moreover, the
Parliament studied the 2011 budget for the first time this September. This early date chosen
for the major financial document was selected at businessmen’s request. Entrepreneurs will
have enough time to prepare for new economic conditions as a result
By Vitaly Volyanyuk                               to license issuance and annulment             these as an obstacle to business activ-
                                                  — fully meet entrepreneurs’ wishes,           ity, so their abolishment should drive
Free trade, among other                           as recorded during the document’s             forward enterprises.
novelties                                         development.                                       The Finance Ministry and the
     Experts unanimously agree that                    There is evident progress in the         Ministry for Taxes and Duties aim to
the Presidential Decree ‘On Licens-               field of licensing. Back in 2003, spe-        apply progressive and globally proven
ing of Certain Activities’ is a timely            cial permission was needed for 150            mechanisms of tax collection. Already,
legal act — one the business commu-               activities. From January 1st, 2011,           most Belarusian enterprises pay only
nity has long awaited. Moreover, the              only 37 will remain. The Deputy               five taxes: VAT, profit tax, real estate,




                                                                                                                                            ALEXANDER RUZHECHKA
reality coincides with expectations:              Economy Minister, Andrei Tur, has             land and ecological tax. These results
from January 1st, 2011, no special                promised at a Minsk press confer-             should be noted in future World Bank
permission will be needed for re-                 ence that the Presidential Decree ‘is         Doing Business reports. Those from
tail trade or public catering. These              not a final document and work in the          the Ministry for Taxes and Duties
account for 40-50 percent of all li-              field of licensing shall be continued’.       are convinced that Belarus will move
censes issued at present. The admin-                                                            from 183rd place in the ratings to at
istrative barrier has now been abol-              Taxes strive for                              least 80th, as regards the simplicity of
                                                                                                                                                                  Investment co-operation is also possible in the banking sphere
ished. In addition, tourist businesses            simplicity                                    its tax paying system.
and another 14 business activities                     In September, the National Assem-             The tax burden on businesses is                          Comfortable graph                                           Mr. Kalinin. He recollects that the
have been exempted from licensing.                bly’s House of Representatives adopted        also being steadily cut. Since 2006,                               The proverb says: ‘repair your cart                    Belarusian rouble’s devaluation in
Special permissions are only needed               changes and alterations to the Tax            it has fallen by 4.7 percent of GDP.                          in December; in July your sledge re-                        early 2009 and new rent regulations
for spheres which require enhanced                Code. Speaking about the law to depu-         Interestingly, the budget has hardly                          member’. The business community                             (adopted in late 2009) ‘were unpleas-
responsibility and control — such as              ties, Finance Minister Andrei Kharko-         suffered. “I think an axiom of market                         has been calling on the Government                          ant surprises for businesses’. “It’s bad
the production and sale of alcohol,               vets stressed that it ‘radically simplifies   economics has been confirmed by                               to act similarly. All legislative acts                      when a company learns about such
gambling, medical and educational                 the taxation system’. The document            our country: reducing the tax burden                          regulating economic activity should                         things at the last minute. It creates a
services, advocatory and banking                  envisages the abolishment of local tax-       releases circulating funds from com-                          be adopted several months before the                        force-majeure situation and breaks a
activities and work with radioactive              es on services and site development,          panies and entrepreneurs,” explains                           new year (when they come into force),                       company’s usual routine. Naturally,
materials. Meanwhile, the period of               in addition to three payments within          the Minister for Taxes and Duties,                            allowing companies’ accounting, legal                       we welcome early announcements
license issuing has been cut to 15                the ecological tax. According to Mr.          Vladimir Poluyan. “In turn, the lib-                          and financial departments to prepare                        by state bodies, which tell us about all
days (from 30), and the term of va-               Kharkovets, the reform should simpli-         eration of business activity leads to                         calmly for the new conditions. Busi-                        vital decisions beforehand, informing
lidity has been extended to 10 years              fy tax administration while reducing          the expansion of the tax-subject base                         nessmen’s requests have been ‘heard’                        business circles about measures in a
(previously five).                                the burden on companies. Next year,           and growth of budget revenue.” To                             by the President, who has ordered the                       timely manner.” Mr. Kalinin adds that
     The Chairman of the Belarusian               the latter should save around Br700bn         confirm his words, the official notes                         Government to adopt a package of                            Belarus is now enjoying more open
Entrepreneurs’ Union, Alexander                   (about $230m) in tax payments.                that, despite fewer taxes being paid                          major economic projects by October                          rule-making, unlike the non-trans-
Kalinin, asserts that this new order                   Since 2006, Belarus has been stead-      into the budget this year than in 2009,                       at the latest; this time scenario should                    parent law adoption of the past. The
for licensing should inspire the de-              ily simplifying its tax system. The state     budget revenue targets have been met                          become the annual norm.                                     Government is now actively liaising
velopment of business and invest-                 has annulled small, inefficient taxes         (in the first half of 2010, 101.9 percent                          “Of course, it’s good that we’ve                       with business associations, experts
ment activity in the country. He                  and fees stage-by-stage; 26 have been         of planned funds were collected).                             learnt about next year’s budget,                            and international institutions when
notes that entrepreneurs’ views have              abolished in recent years, including          This was possible due to growing pay-                         planned taxes and rates in Septem-                          preparing important documents.
been taken into account while some                ‘turnover’ taxes, which are paid from         ments from other major taxes (profit                          ber. We can now plan our work                               This teamwork enhances the quality
suggestions — such as those relating              revenue. International experts criticise      tax and VAT).                                                 thoroughly and without hurry,” says                         of decisions.


                                                                                                                                                             New plans bring
                                                                                                                                                             additional benefits
ALEXANDER RUZHECHKA




                                                                                                                                                             Minsk’s Belkommunmash and                                    a dozen companies produce these
                                                                                                                                                             Polish PESA Bydgoszcz SA to                                  trains worldwide, while those made
                                                                                                                                                             jointly master rail transport                                by PESA Bydgoszcz SA boast an
                                                                                                                                                             market                                                       optimal price-quality ratio.
                      Property market in Belarus based on volume of housing construction, which influences pricing
                                                                                                                                                                 The companies have agreed to                                 “This agreement opens a new
                                                                                                                                                             launch assembly of rail transport                            page in Belkommunmash’s history;

Good time to buy property
By Inga Vakulova                                       According to data provided by            cast that property prices are un-
                                                                                                                                                             (for Belarusian and foreign mar-
                                                                                                                                                             kets), using the production facilities
                                                                                                                                                             of Belarusian Railways. This joint
                                                                                                                                                             production differs significantly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          in a short period of time, it has be-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          come a world leader in producing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          urban electric transport and has
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          plans to diversify into rail trans-
                                                  realt.by website, the average price           likely to change any time soon.                              from currently manufactured elec-                            port, joining a holding to produce
According to Interfax-Zapad                       in Minsk stands at $1,321 per                     Nikolay      Prostolupov,     the                        tric trains — in its technical level                         electric land transport — and man-
News Agency, a flat in Minsk                      square metre. The difference be-              Chairman of the Belarusian Real                              and comfort; it is unique within the                         aged overall by Belkommunmash,”
can now be bought for almost                      tween asking prices and sale prices           Estate Association, notes that, at                           post-Soviet space. No more than                              notes the Minsk company’s General
the same price as in early 2007                   is just $100 per square metre. This           present, many contracts have been                                                                                         Director, Vladimir Korol.
    The National Cadastre Agency                  difference may not seem huge but              signed by buyers seeking flats in                                                                                             The Director for Marketing
informs us that the price of one                  it totals around $5,000 if referring          high-rise buildings, which are                                                                                            on Foreign Markets, a member of
square metre in August 2010 stood                 to a two-roomed 50sq.m flat.                  currently being constructed but                                                                                           PESA Bydgoszcz SA’s Board of Di-
at $1,203 while, in September, it                      The property market has lost             only have 2-3 floors built so far.                                                                                        rectors, Zigfrid Zhuravski, stresses
had reached $1,238 (incomplete                    much of its dynamism. From Janu-              Such new housing is around 10                                                                                             that the co-operation of such large
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ALEXANDER RUZHECHKA




data). In 2008, a square metre                    ary-September 2009, 7,400 flats               percent cheaper per square metre                                                                                          and authoritative partners guaran-
cost $1,731 on average and almost                 were sold and bought, compared                than older properties. However,                                                                                           tees advantages for both sides on
reached $2,000 in autumn 2007,                    to just 5,100 flats over the same             new housing tends to match that                                                                                           the rail transport market. The joint
so the price drop is a relief to new              period of 2010. High mortgage                 of older property in price overall.                                                                                       product is to be reasonably priced,
buyers. The price of a square metre               interest rates are evident, prevent-          Another advantage of new homes                                                                                            while boasting high quality. Moreo-
recently stabilised and now fluctu-               ing some from being able to afford            is that the quality of materials used                                                                                     ver, it’ll be tailored to suit specific
ates at around $1,200 to $1,250.                  them. Accordingly, experts fore-              tends to be much higher.                                                  New tram looks smart                            customers.

				
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