Measures taken by the government to improve investment climate in Belarus
Become independent, the Republic of Belarus mainly used its own investment resources to restructure and expand its economy. But the modernization of production, support of rival products and increase of the services sector, further indicated the need to significantly increase the country's investment capital, that is why it is so important for Belarus to attract foreign investment and create a favorable investment climate.
The republic has already taken actions to liberalize its economy. In 2009 the government adopted 56 legislative acts to this effect, thus showing its commitment to improve the business environment in the country.
The specific steps taken in this direction include an improvement of the tax system. One of the main changes here is the introduction of the Special Part of the Tax Code of the Republic of Belarus. This move allowed to abolish some taxes such as the vehicle purchase tax, retail sale tax, duty paid to the agricultural producers support fund, duty paid by car owners for the use of parking space, and others. Overall, 22 of taxes and duties were abolished, thus saving the funds equivalent to 1.3% of the GDP.
The number of enterprises requiring a license has decreased. In 2003 it was somewhere around 150, whereas now it is only 53, and 16 more are on the way to be license-free (the experts have already prepared drafts of the regulatory document for signing by the President.
Price liberalization. The list of goods subjects to mandatory certification in Belarus has been reduced by 40% and now includes primarily socio-critical products and some industrial products. At the same time the certification rules and procedures have been eased and simplified. (For example, the validity period of the certificates entitling its holders to engage in serial production of goods has been increased from 3 to 5 years, and the certificates for the production of batches of goods has been made unlimited; the opportunities for obtaining compliance certificates with the use of the protocols of tests of both Belarusian and foreign testing laboratories have been increased; and more ways have been introduced to confirm the compliance of products with the standards when the certificates are in effect; the government has allowed interaction between Belarusian and foreign certifying authorities and testing laboratories.
The declarative principle has been introduced for registration of businesses (with the exception of banks and non-banking financial institutions), and the start-up costs (initial costs) have been reduced. Now the registration takes place on the day when the necessary documents are submitted to the appropriate government authority and the number of these documents has also been reduced and now includes only an application, a copy of the company’s charter and the document confirming payment of the state duty (in accordance with Ordinance No. 1 of the President of the Republic of Belarus “On State Registration and Liquidation (Termination of Activities) of Business Entities”).
The golden-share rule, which international institutions and businesses frowned, has been repealed.
Actions have been taken to limit the interference of competition watchdogin the life of private business. The number of watchdog agencies has been reduced. A selective inspection method has been introduced. This method makes it possible to take into account how well the business is under inspection abides by official business laws, and it does not allow auditing start-ups during the first two years of their operation (in accordance with Decree No. 510 of the President of the Republic of Belarus “On the Improvement of the Supervision (Audit) Activities in the Republic of Belarus”).
The procedure of land allocation has been simplified. For example, authority for land allocation has been delegated to local governments; the one-stop shop service has been introduced; land plots are allocated through auctions, and other things.
Approaches to private property and privatization have been altered. In 2008, the government introduced three-year privatization plans for specific companies. For example, in 2008-2010 this plan includes nearly 500 large businesses, or they are known as republican unitary companies. Privatization is seen as a way to attract strategic investors to Belarus, which could bring new high technologies to Belarus, modern business governance solutions, help find new sales markets – everything that can make Belarusian businesses more efficient and effective, that will help them grow.
On 6 August 2009, the investment agents institute was created (in accordance with Decree No. 413 of the President of the Republic of Belarus “On Delegating the Authority to Natural Persons and Business Entities to Represent the Interests of the Republic of Belarus in the Matters Concerning the Attraction of Investments in the Republic of Belarus” dated 6 August 2009,” which was registered on 10 August 2010 in the National Register of Legal Acts under number 1/10913).
These are natural persons and businesses that have the necessary experience to assist other businesses in implementing the investment projects. In order to qualify, these helpers should have a good performance indicator for their own investment projects in Belarus. In addition, they should have a broad network of connections abroad and be able to negotiate things directly with top managers of large companies on an equal footing.