Government set to double SMEs’ contribution to economy

The government has adopted a strategy aimed at doubling the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Belarusian economy by 2030.

According to the strategy, there are 110,000 legal entities and about 250,000 sole entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector, which account for more than one-fourth of Belarus’ gross value added and create every one in three jobs.

“At the same time the contribution of SMEs to the national economy is considerably lower than in most developed countries,” the strategy notes.

It cites the example of the European Union, where SMEs account for 56.8 percent of gross value added and 66.6 percent of jobs.

It is necessary to increase the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises to the Belarusian economy to make it more effective and to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to $100 billion, the strategy says.

The implementation of the strategy “through coordinated efforts of government agencies and businesses” is expected to increase SMEs’ contribution to Belarus’ gross value added by up to 50 percent by 2030.

The objective of the strategy is to form a dynamically developing SMEs sector capable of considerably improving the structure of the Belarusian economy, increasing its competitiveness and ensuring employment and a rise in Belarusians’ income.

The strategy is expected to be implemented in two stages.

In particular, the government intends to improve infrastructure in 2018 through 2020 and create a competitive and adaptive SMEs sector in 2021 through 2030.

According to the strategy, it is necessary to reduce the government`s intervention in business activities and increase the economic freedom of small- and medium sized enterprises.

The strategy provides for the separation of the state’s functions as a regulator and as an owner and the reform of state-owned companies, including their handover to a more effective owner.

There are also plans to make changes to Belarus’ Criminal and Civil Offenses Codes to make penalties imposed on SMEs proportionate to the severity of their offenses.