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22 Oct 2018

Belarus’ SME population might reach 2m by 2030

Belarus’ SME population might reach 2m by 2030

MINSK, 22 October (BelTA) – Small and medium-sized enterprises might provide jobs to 2 million people by 2030, Belarus’ Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi has told the Belarus 1 TV Channel commenting on the recently adopted SME promotion strategy for the period till 2030, BelTA has learned.

“The Economy Ministry believes that quality is above quantity. The positive developments reported by small and medium-sized businesses over the past two years suggest that we should be guided, first of all, by quality parameters,” the minister noted. He explained that the strategy aims to achieve a number of goals. First, these are fiscal revenues from this economic segment. In this regard, SMEs have a share of 34% now, while by the yearend it might increase to 36%. The second important factor is export. SMEs account for 36% of commodity export and 39% of the export of services. “The third important thing is employment numbers. This economic segment employs 1.3 million people at the moment. In line with optimistic forecasts of the Economy Ministry, this figure will increase to 2 million by the end of the strategy timeframe. However, the necessary conditions and terms should be in place to achieve this goal,” Dmitry Krutoi added.

Speaking about the SME structure, the minister noted that 30% of SMEs operate in the manufacturing sector, while 70% provide services. “At large, this will be the structure of the Belarusian economy in the future, because today all developed countries have such proportions. Therefore, as far as the manufacturing sector is concerned, all our traditional industries can grow on the back of SMEs. Let’s take agriculture. The expansion of SMEs in this economic sector will give a boost to farming, in particular, in economically distressed communities with no major industrial enterprises, but with a huge private initiative in this segment,” the minister noted.

In his words, the services sector is a key driver. For example, the transportation industry in the SME segment posts over $1 billion in revenues; however, it can potentially generate at least $2-3 billion in the near future. Private companies also operate in the IT sector, Dmitry Krutoi noted. The share of this segment in GDP is increasing: now it stands at 3.7%, though several years ago it was below 1%.

Apart from that, there are plans to recalibrate the work of entrepreneurship promotion facilities. At present, Belarus has 101 entrepreneurship support centers and 26 incubators. Their work with entrepreneurs is lukewarm and inadequate. Therefore, the number one task now is to revise their work. Approaches to setting up a coordinating association, an agency are being elaborated. The concept of this structure will be ready in the first half of 2019,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.

The SME promotion strategy “Belarus is a country for successful entrepreneurship” for the period till 2030 is designed to give more economic freedom to entrepreneurs and to increase their contribution to the country’s social and economic growth, to promote competition and ensure equal business terms for economic operators of all forms of ownership. The document sets forth priorities for the mid-term and long-term perspectives, major objectives and principles of streamlining government regulation and supporting entrepreneurship.

The strategy is to be implemented in two stages: the transition stage will span two years (2018-2020) and envisages the improvement of the institutional framework and infrastructure, while the major stage (2021-2030) provides for formation and operation of a competitive and flexible entrepreneurship sector. Provided coherent actions of government and business, the strategy will result in increasing the share of SMEs in gross value added up to 50% by 2030.

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