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from 30.01.2008

Local authorities should promote business development in regions


Local authorities should promote business development in regions

Belarus needs a system, which would give local budgets an opportunity to earn money, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said on January 30 at a session of the board of the Finance Ministry of Belarus.

According to him, first of all local authorities should intensify the work on promoting business development in the regions. The Government has already done everything necessary for this purpose. In particular, economic entities working in small and medium-scale towns enjoy tax preferences. “In 2008 we abolished several taxes to ease tax burden. As a result, the real sector of economy gets about Br1 trillion of additional funds. The VAT rate was remained at the same level – 18%. Nevertheless, local authorities should intensify the work on raising budget revenues,” Sergei Sidorsky noted.

Companies in small and medium-scale towns should more actively work with big enterprises and offer them to locate their production facilities in the regions. There is necessary potential for this purpose. However, these issues are settled too slowly in the country. According to him, such projects should be carried out by the local state bodies first of all.

“Land should be given to those who want to work. Land should bring incomes,” the Prime Minister stressed. In particular, the local authorities should determine industrial, tourist and other zones and to attract businessmen there. Sergei Sidorsky took note of a low level of regional land auctions. There are positive changes in some regions but these are isolated instances.

As an example of investing in small and medium-scale towns the Prime Minister noted the mineral water production. Darida Company gets significant profits. And this is a natural source. There are lots of them in the country. We should exploit Belarus’ natural resources to the maximum.

According to the head of the Belarusian Government, all this will help raise more local budget revenues, as all taxes and dues paid by businessmen will remain at the disposal of the local authorities.

In 2007, Belarus’ GDP grew by 8.2%, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said at a session of the Finance Ministry.

He said that last year the industrial output was up 8.5%; real incomes increased y 15% for the population. Nearly 4.7 million square meters of housing were constructed. Most important parameters of the budget were met. Pension benefits, scholarships were paid in full volume and in time.

Sergei Sidorsky stressed that 2007 was a difficult year as the terms of foreign trade changed. The US dollar has weakened in the international financial markets. The financial crisis in the Asian markets continues.

In line with the Council of Ministers’ Resolution No 8, which maps out main targets of the socio-economic development forecast of Belarus, the GDP is expected to increase by 11% in 2008 over 2007.

The Belarusian insurance companies should intensify the work on servicing export-import operations, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said on January 30 at a session of the board of the Finance Ministry of Belarus.

“I am not satisfied with the work of insurance companies. This is one of the spheres where we derive no incomes,” Sergei Sidorsky stressed.

“Why did the Russian companies working in the Belarusian market boost their business?” asked the Prime Minister. According to him, “today the insurance market is considerably bigger in Belarus than the real estate market.”

Belarus has approved a programme on developing the insurance market. However, the document should be revised, Sergei Sidorsky considers. “We cannot wait and cultivate this market as someone wants. What is a $2-3 million insurance market for Belarus?” he asked.

Belarus needs to do everything necessary to enhance the efficiency of agricultural processing, Prime minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky said at a session of the Finance Ministry.

“Today we talk a lot about new working conditions for agricultural companies. Yes, external factor do have their influence; the consumption has been growing. Therefore we need to do everything so that agricultural produce should be processed effectively. It is processing that we will pay the closest attention to,” Sergei Sidorsky said. According to him, deliveries from Ukraine, European and other countries account for 61% of the Belarusian juice market.

The Prime Minister said, many issues need to be addressed in milk processing. As a positive example the Premier cited Babushkina Krynka company which built an up-to-date cheese making plant over seven months and has already started repaying the loans. Sergei Sidorsky believes that other companies need to make processing more efficient what will allow them to produce a product of higher quality. “These are the issues we need to be working on,” he said.