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24 Apr 2020

Measures to support Belarusian economy amid pandemic authorized

Measures to support Belarusian economy amid pandemic authorized
An archive photo

MINSK, 24 April (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed decree No.143 on 24 April to support the national economy, BelTA has learned.

The document was signed as a result of the government conference held on 23 April to discuss top-priority measures on ensuring the steady operation of the economy and the social sphere of the country in conditions of the pandemic.

The decree stipulates measures to support commercial entities in several branches of the national economy, which are most susceptible to the unfavorable impact of the current epidemiological situation. The list of such industries can be found in an addendum to the decree.

Taxation

The decree enables payment holidays and payment by installment for credits against tax. The time for the state budget to reimburse the difference between the sum of tax deductions and the total VAT sum has been reduced. Self-employed businessmen will be able to switch to other taxation schemes since they are temporarily out of business.

The decree introduces rent payment holidays, a moratorium on raising the base rent amount and raising the actual size of rent. Apart from that, municipal authorities have been authorized to reduce property taxes. Legal persons and self-employed businessmen, who own properties, are advised to give rent respites to their tenants and to reduce the size of rent depending on the earnings of their tenants.

Organizations will be able to change their tax accounting scheme for currency translation differences once in 2020 and the scheme will stay in effect for the duration of the entire fiscal period.

Control and oversight

The healthcare minister, the antimonopoly regulation and trade minister, and the chairman of the State Control Committee have been authorized to suspend the operation of retail outlets and public catering outlets until the outlets rectify their violations (for up to 90 days) if the relevant agency finds faults in such outlets. The measure is designed to bolster discipline in the operation of commercial entities, which is particularly necessary in the current economic and epidemiological situation.

Labor relations

In order to secure employment and increase workforce mobility the minimal period of time for the employer to warn employees about forthcoming substantial changes of working conditions (without reducing their salaries) has been reduced. The period of time, during which employees can be reassigned to another job due to the unfavorable epidemiological situation or in order to substitute for a missing employee, has been extended to three months.

Social security

The decree allows paying temporary incapacity benefits to persons, who take care of kids 10 years old and below, who go to kindergartens or schools, if the kid is a first-tier or second-tier contact of a coronavirus patient.

In order to simplify government procurement procedures, customers can buy assets from one source (as much as needed to satisfy their needs for two months) if the contract with the previous supplier has been terminated.

Suppliers, who fail to meet their commitments and are forced to terminate the contract due to objective reasons, will not be included into the registry of mala fide suppliers for now.

To allow the government to promptly and flexibly respond to the worsening of the epidemiological situation, the government has been authorized to introduce temporary procedures for government purchases if necessary.

Arrears for energy resources owed in foreign currency are to be repaid in line with the Belarusian ruble’s exchange rate set by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus on 31 December 2019 against the foreign currency used to pay for the energy resources.

The regulation on grounds for subsidiary responsibility as specified by subparagraph 5.6, paragraph 5 of the Entrepreneurship Development Ordinance of 23 November 2017 will also apply to relations that emerged before the decree was adopted.

The presidential decree also specifies other norms and regulations that will support Belarusian commercial entities and keep people employed in conditions of reduced economic activity.

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