Business painful as usual in Belarus

  • 2003-02-13
  • Jan Maksymiuk
According to a recent poll, excessive taxes and changing tax legislation were cited as the main reasons why doing business in Belarus was exceptionally challenging.

The Minsk-based Institute of Privatization and Management, in cooperation with the U.S. Center for International Private Enterprise, conducted the poll among Belarusian entrepreneurs in October to discover the most difficult problems they face in pursuing business activities.

The respondents were requested to ascribe an integer value from one (no problem) to five (the largest problem) to each item on a list of potential problems.

The poll found that the five top problems of private Belarusian businesses are: too many taxes (4.49), unstable legislation (4.44), frequent changes in tax accounting (4.44), excessive tax rates (4.42), too many legislative changes (4.24).

In addition, the poll also found that the average enterprise in Belarus needs to get three licenses to pursue its activities. What's more, the number of required licenses increases with the number of employees in a given enterprise.

Thus, a company employing more than 200 people needs at least nine licenses to be operational.

Asked about what is necessary to foster the development of private businesses in Belarus, respondents responded that lower taxes (80.4 percent of respondents), improved legislation for small businesses (52.4 percent), simplification of registration, licensing, and other procedures that block access to the market (40.7 percent), and developing a system of financial support for small businesses (38.6 percent).