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Belarus government vows to minimize interference with private business operation

MINSK (BelTA) – The state will interfere with the operation of private businesses as little as possible. Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Valery Mitskevich made the statement in an interview with the Belarusian legal information website law.by as he commented on the public discussion of entrepreneurship emancipation documents, BelTA has learned.

The draft presidential decree on encouraging entrepreneurship development and ruling out excessive requirements for private business in Belarus is the key document in the package. According to Valery Mitskevich, the document is meant to redesign the existing system of relations between the state and the private sector. The government will interfere with the running of private enterprises as little as possible. It will be up to private business to regulate itself. A number of mechanisms are stipulated to make the plans come true.

It will be possible to start the most popular kinds of business using the notification procedure. “When we were starting preparing the document, we decided to calculate how many steps or procedures an enterprising individual has to go through in order to open a simple cafe. We counted about 12 procedures. Even civil servants believe the number is too large,” he said. The working group decided in favor of adopting the Estonian model. Businessmen will be able to send one notification to the local authorities to be able to start working the next day. No barriers to business operation will stand after that. “People will no longer have to contact every little government agency, collecting all kinds of papers. And it is the right thing to do. Potential business owners know best what their business needs,” said the deputy head of the Belarus President Administration. At the same time by filing the notification the business owner comes under the obligation to work honestly and legally. Not the government but the business owner will control and make safe the operation of his or her business.

The draft presidential decree also minimizes the number of fire safety, sanitary and environmental requirements for maintaining buildings and premises. “We kept in mind the head of state's instruction to prune all the unnecessary things,” said Valery Mitskevich. “We tried to simplify all the excessive requirements as much as possible. For instance, we've kept only 58 requirements out of 586 fire safety ones, seven addenda and 13 tables.”

The work on new sanitary regulations was guided by proposals of the private sector. “The private sector has decided what requirements are excessive. We've acted on their recommendations by eliminating all these rules relating to incoming raw materials, ready-made meals and semi-finished products in the kitchen of restaurants or canteens,” said Valery Mitskevich. “The Healthcare Ministry views all these novelties with caution for now. But I think the Healthcare Ministry will back us up in the end. People in Europe work like that with a minimal list of requirements. I think we can try and do the same.”

The general requirements the draft decree specifies will be mandatory. Other norms and rules will be optional and can be adopted by commercial entities if they choose to do so.

Administrative barriers impeding the development of private businesses in Belarus will be rooted out as much as possible. “Private shops and public catering institutions are now free to specify their own working hours without requesting authorization from municipal government. It will be possible to provide car repair services in the garages citizens own as natural persons. Trucking companies will no longer need transport manifests. Many civil engineering requirements have been simplified. For instance, it will be possible to commission real estate properties using the one-stop shop principle,” explained Valery Mitskevich.

“The draft presidential decree contains many other regulations meant to improve the business climate in Belarus. It is now necessary to polish the document to perfection so that the head of state could sign it,” summed up the deputy head of the Belarus President Administration.http://eng.belta.by/