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9 Mar 2017

Decree No.3 to stay in force, tax collection postponed for a year

MINSK, 9 March (BelTA) – Decree No.3 “On preventing social dependency” will not be abolished, but tax collection will be suspended for the current year, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at a government meeting to discuss the most topical issues related to the country’s development on 9 March.

“The decree must be adjusted during March. The decree will not be abolished. It will stay in force, with the adjustments I have just mentioned,” the Belarusian leader said.

“I am keeping an eye on what the media, both opposition and state-owned, write. I know about the statements by representatives of the so-called fifth column and even some things the public does not know about. Although the media have made some hints,” the President said.

According to him, this decree is not some economic and financial document. “The decree is about ideology and morality. The state is not going to get big money from it. The key goal of the decree is to make people work,” noted the President.

The head of state criticized the work of the officials responsible for the implementation of the decree. “Our MPs, at different levels and, first of all, those at the local level, failed to find their place here [in outreaching to the people],” he said.

“This is, first of all, the task of every chairman of the district executive committee, every head of a city or district administration. The governors and the Minsk Mayor are supposed to monitor the situation. You should have lists of the people who do not work. We must not hurt honest people, especially during these difficult times. Those 200-500 people who go on strikes are not social parasites. These people are those whom we have wrongly offended by requiring them to pay the tax,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

He instructed the authorities to compile lists of those who must make payments under Decree No. 3 by 1 April. “The lists should be accurate. We need to involve all, namely members of the local councils, police, the special services, in drawing up these lists. They must be submitted to city and district administrations, regional authorities and the city of Minsk. The President’s Administration together with the Government shall monitor the implementation of this decision,” the head of state noted.

The President announced the following decision: those who have been included in the relevant lists shall not pay tax under Decree No. 3 during the year 2017. “The person who paid the tax in 2016 will not have to pay it in 2017 if he is still out of work. If he finds a job then the money will be reimbursed to him or her on request,” the head of state said.

“In 2016 thousands of people made these payments without challenging this decision. Today I have canceled the requirement that the people who were supposed to pay in the first quarter should be charged this tax. In 2016 we will not charge the tax from those who should pay. Those who have already paid will not have to pay in 2017. If they find work in 2017, we must return the money,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

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