Lukashenka signs decree titled "On Development of Enterprise"

Alyaksandr Lukashenka on Thursday signed a presidential decree titled "On the Development of Enterprise," which is the centerpiece of a package of government-drafted ordinances aimed at improving Belarus' business climate, said the presidential press office.

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In a major change, the decree introduces a notification system for businesses engaging in activities such as, among others, consumer and tourism services, trade, food service, passenger transportation, and the production of building materials. That means that a business may merely notify local authorities of its plans to start engaging in such activities, including in electronic form, and begin operations the following day, said the press office.

The decree shortens the list of requirements for businesses, with many sanitary, environmental and other requirements being removed.

The decree also shortens the list of fire safety, sanitary and environmental requirements for new buildings.

The ordinance eliminates many lengthy and costly procedures involving the issuance of permits. In particular, food service outlets will no longer be required to have their hours of operation approved by local authorities.

The decree introduces a penalty of 10 to 200 times the Base rate (230 to 4,600 rubels) for directors for failing to secure their business' proper operation and causing harmful consequences. "Amid the liberalization of requirements the measure is aimed at making businesses more responsible for their activity to the public and the state," said the press office.

The decree had been drawn up by the government since this past January.