Lukashenka suggests dramatically easing conditions of doing business

Alyaksandr Lukashenka suggested on Tuesday that the working group on the stimulation of business activity draw up a presidential edict that would dramatically ease the conditions of doing business in Belarus.

Speaking at the group's meeting, Mr. Lukashenka said that the draft document should land on his desk by this April.

As Syarhey Navitski, a member of the council, told BelaPAN, the head of state wants such an edict to "cut the Gordian knot of all problems that have piled up in the small business sector."

The government is determined to reduce pressure on businesses as much as possible, according to Mr. Navitski, director general of construction materials company Henkel Bautechnik. "If, say, it takes one six months to open a cafe now, we will try to reduce the period to one week," he said. "But that does not mean that the businessperson will not be responsible for his actions."

The edict will send a message to people that they are welcome to do business, he said.

Viktar Marhelaw, co-chairperson of the National Enterprise Confederation, said that the meeting's agenda was limited to requirements for and inspections of businesses and the ease of starting a business in Belarus, while the businesspeople included in the working group had hoped that it would focus on a broader range of subjects. "The businesspeople had expected something more," he acknowledged.

The meeting lasted for more than two and a half hours and Mr. Lukashenka's monologue focusing on his "vision of the situation" took up most of the time, according to Mr. Marhelaw.
The working group on the stimulation of business activity was established by Mr. Lukashenka this past January. The head of state appointed himself to chair the working group. Its first meeting took place on January 27.