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19 Sep 2017

Belarusian private sector promised lower fines, less frequent seizure of goods

MINSK, 19 September (BelTA) - Belarus will change approaches to confiscation of goods and will lower fines for entrepreneurs, Vadim Ipatov, the Director of the National Center of Legislation and Legal Research, told the media after the meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the draft law to introduce the amendments and addenda to the Administrative Violations Code and the Code of Execution Procedure on Administrative Violations, BelTA has learned.

“The bill is a comprehensive document. It provides for the adjustment of administrative responsibility in various fields. It contains a big block of proposals on business liberalization,” Vadim Ipatov said. “The important point is the matter of confiscation. The business community has repeatedly raised this issue and said that the state is excessively tough in applying this administrative instrument.”

The scope of applicaiton of confiscation measures will be substantially reduced and mandatory confiscation will continue to be applied only with regard to goods prohibited for use: extremist materials, forged alcohol, goods contaminated beyond acceptable levels or of poor quality that can cause harm to human health.

“Plans have been made not to confiscate the entire sum of income as it is done now with regard to, for example, illicit entrepreneurial activities. A certain percentage of this income will be set. The bill proposes alternative confiscation. The court will take a decision weighing on all the circumstances of the case and the nature of the offense,” Vadim Ipatov said.

The document also suggests reducing fines for 45 administrative offences and applying alternative measures such as warning. It is anticipated that it will be introduced in 21 provisions on responsibility.

The novelties will include the clear criteria to qualify a violation as of low significance. “A number of government bodies and our center took an active part in finalizing this provision. Economic entities will be held administratively liable only in cases of doing harm to human life and health, a threat of such harm or considerable property damage. The fine will be more than 40 base amounts. ,” said Vadim Ipatov.

The norms of low significance will be applied to administrative violations described in Chapters 11-14 of the Administration Violations Code. Among them are offences in business activity, taxation and customs regulations, and also infringements in finances, securities and banking activities.

The Belarusian head of state approved the approaches laid down in the bill and instructed to submit the document to the parliament. “Our MPs should scrutinize the document, weigh all pros and cons regarding the amendments included into the draft law,” the director of the center noted.

Vadim Ipatov stressed that the draft law was developed taking into account the experience of other countries. “States such as Moldova, Russia, and Kazakhstan are trying to address these issues. But they do not yet have what we have envisioned in our draft bill. The approach is similar to those used in the Western European countries. It is a serious step forward,” he said.

Efforts to improve business climate in Belarus will be continued, Vadim Ipatov stressed.

 

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