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22 Sep 2017

Forthcoming changes in government oversight over private sector in Belarus explained

Forthcoming changes in government oversight over private sector in Belarus explained

MINSK, 22 September (BelTA) – Chairman of the State Control Committee of Belarus Leonid Anfimov explained the details of the draft presidential decree meant to improve oversight functions on 22 September, BelTA has learned.

The draft decree was discussed at an expanded-participation government conference held by the Belarus president in August along with other documents meant to simplify business operation terms. Back then the head of state gave instructions to polish all the regulatory acts and present detailed reports on each of them afterwards.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko noted that the private sector is most concerned about government oversight. The head of state made the statement as he heard out Leonid Anfimov’s report on 22 September. “Naturally people in Belarus want minimum responsibility and maximum freedom. We cannot fall for this trick. We should definitely get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that impedes the work of people and enterprises but oversight must stay in place, the necessary kind of oversight that truly ‘emancipates’ people without interfering with their work,” pointed out the president.

After meeting with the head of state the chairman of the State Control Committee talked to mass media to reveal the main approaches and novelties of the reviewed draft presidential decree.

In his words, the document is designed to improve oversight functions in addition to relaxing business operation terms and moving away from close oversight. “The main principled and conceptual approaches have been fully approved. The minor remarks voiced by the Council of Ministers will be taken into account soon. Then the draft decree will be forwarded to the president for signing,” noted Leonid Anfimov.

In particular, the document will phase out the practice of regular audits, which allowed government auditors to examine a commercial entity without any other valid reasons. Instead state auditors will be able to choose commercial entities to inspect at random out of the pool of compromised companies, for instance, those with a record of multiple violations.

The state oversight will step down its punishing functions in favor of preventative ones. Technical oversight will come to the forefront. If the company manages to fix its shortcomings within the specified time, no punishments will be applied.

Apart from that, state auditors will no longer be able to launch an audit on the basis of the facts a law enforcement agency is investigating before a criminal case is opened.

State auditors will be punished for trying to make commercial entities comply with unwarranted requirements or for launching audits in violation of the law. The prosecution service and the State Control Committee will give out these punishments.

The draft presidential decree also provides for reducing the number of auditing agencies and their areas of oversight. Out of 39 state oversight agencies the decree will leave 28 ones standing while their areas of oversight will be reduced from 178 to 106.

Depriving state auditors of the ability to suspend the operation of an enterprise is one of the most important novelties. The head of the company will be the one to decide whether the company’s operation should be put on hold or not depending on recommendations from state auditors. However, the head of the company will bear full responsibility for such decisions.

The authors of the draft presidential decree believe that these measures will help build a more rational system of state administration. The measures will also make the work of control (oversight) agencies more transparent and will rule out unwarranted audits.

The document is supposed to be signed by 1 October to come into force in early 2018.


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