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27 Jan 2016

SME Policy Index: Significant improvements in business environment in Belarus

MINSK, 27 January (BelTA) - Belarus has made significant improvements in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reads SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2016 - Assessing the Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe. The launch event for the SME Policy Index took place in Minsk on 27 January, BelTA has learned.

The report states that in recent years Belarus has paid more attention to SME development, including in terms of insolvency procedures. Some success has been achieved in areas relating to human capital, mainly thanks to consistent action by the government to recognize entrepreneurial learning as one of priorities and to implement certain programs for improving entrepreneurial skills.

The report stresses that the SME development should be seen as part of the common policy to promote the development of the private sector in general, liberalize the economy and enhance its competitiveness. With this in mind, the creation of a level playing field for all businesses, irrespective of their size and ownership structure, will be key for Belarus to achieve sustained economic growth in the medium to long term.

In his welcoming remarks Belarus’ Deputy Economy Minister Anton Kudasov said that report is a result of the joint work of the Belarusian government agencies, public associations of businessmen, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its partners the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in 2015.

“The assessment provided in the report helps identify strengths and weaknesses of the process in designing and implementing effective SME policies, compare performance across countries and policy areas, measure convergence towards the policy principles of the Small Business Act for Europe,” he said. According to the deputy minister, the analysis is supplemented by country-level policy recommendations, including the improvement of the investment climate, development of business promotion infrastructure, access to finance and human capital development.

According to Anton Kudasov, Belarus’ cooperation with the European Commission and the OECD will be continued. A new project is planned for 2016. It is a board expert assessment of the improvement of SME professional skills through business promotion services. “The project will be implemented in partnership with the OECD. The participation in the project will help our country study the best practices and know-how applied at the international and national levels, and make use of them in designing and implementing reforms in Belarus,” he said.

Anton Kudasov stressed that not everything in this field depends on Belarus. In his words, the products of small and medium-sized businesses, goods and services which they produce, intellectual property objects need to be sold. “If we do not join efforts to improve the conditions of trade and the exchange of goods and services, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises will be inefficient. The state of affairs in the field of commodity exchange, trade agreements and their fulfillment in the European continent is not perfect because of a number of political events – the trade between the EU and the Eurasian space has recently faced certain problems,” he said. Anton Kudasov expressed hope that Belarus contributes to tackling these problems rather than multiplying them. “We hope that the conditions for trade will be developed and brought to life within the framework of our cooperation. I hope we will continue fruitful cooperation as part of joint projects to support SMEs,” he concluded.

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