80,000 sole traders to lose job
16:00, — Society
Sole traders won't be able to work under new conditions.
If the decree on business activity and selling goods is signed, it will be a catastrophe for small business. The public organisation Perspective launches a campaign to collect signatures for an appeal to Lukashenka asking him not to sign the decree. The draft decree sets new rules for sole traders, who pay the fixed tax, from July 1, 2014.
Is there a hope that the voice of sole traders will be heard by the authorities? Perspevtive's leader Anatoly Shumchanka talked to eurobelarus.info.
– Is collecting signatures the last form of protests against the forthcoming changes?
– We are not speaking about protests yet. Collecting signatures is rather a form of struggle, a way to convey our message to the authorities. This is not protest yet. The decree can leave most sole traders without means of subsistence.
But we are not going to stop. We will have a forum of sole traders in June to try to talk to the authorities. We plan to hold the traditional competition for the best region 2013 by the end of May and study the opinion of market traders on the expected changes.
– You say most sole traders will be left without means of subsistence. Does it means that you calculated how the decree on business activity and selling goods by sole traders will influence small business?
– We made the calculations long ago. I can say that according to our estimates, 80,000 out of 100,000 sole traders won't be able to continue working with new requirements.
The financial feasibility study says that 10,000 people, who pay the fixed tax, will sell goods in 2015. It is seven times less than now.
For consumers, prices will double or even triple. The state will lose up to 1,124 trillion rubles of revenues to the budget a year in 2015-2016. It is a catastrophe for small business.
– Do the authorities react to your attempts to be heard?
– The first reaction was from Lukashenka at a meeting in February, when he came down on me like a bulldozer. The authorities and sole traders have active consultations in Minsk and in the regions. Officials try to explain the new rules to businessmen. Many sole traders don't even know about the changes from July 1. People don't believe they can lose their jobs. They repeat “omething will happen, but not in the way you say”. Sole traders don't understand that they won't be able to fulfill all requirements set by legislative acts.
– What is now the most dangerous for sole traders?
– The requirement to have supporting documents for the goods from the Customs Union cannot be implemented. Russia does not issue documents of that type. This is the main threat. Most Belarusian sole traders buy goods at Russian markets, but Russian sellers cannot give the required documents. If we ask to return VAT, no one wants to work with us, because Russians don't want to have additional audits.
Nobody discusses the business regulation acts with sole traders contrary to directive No. 4. These actions by the Belarusian government only stir up confrontations and lead to local conflicts.
– Do you really hope Lukashenka and his administration will hear the voice of sole traders?
– I'd like to say that it's due to Perspective that the plans on compulsory certification of goods were postponed for six months.
You cannot win if you don't try. We are trying to get things moving.
We will struggle anyway. We want a civilised and constructive dialogue. We want to solve the problems through negotiations. Consequences cannot be predicted if you deprive someone of the last thing he has.
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