Lukashenka: Vendors’ «honey years» are over

The «honey years» for small business owners with sole entrepreneur status are over, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Thursday while meeting with top border guard officials after formally approving this year’s border protection plan.

 
The «honey years» for small business owners with sole entrepreneur status are over, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Thursday while meeting with top border guard officials after formally approving this year’s border protection plan.

«On January 1, their honey years ended, and they should be working in equal conditions, with appropriate documents,» he was quoted as saying by the government’s news agency BelTA. «They should realize that the product certification we’ve ordered is the first step. If there are goods, there should be all accompanying documents. We should trade transparently and stop playing some games around it.»

Recalling his meeting with stallholders at the Expobel Shopping Mall on the outskirts of Minsk in March 2015, Mr. Lukashenka noted that he had made a concession to vendors back then, allowing them to continue selling clothing and footwear without accompanying documents that certify their compliance with the Customs Union`s safety requirements until January 1, 2016. He expressed puzzlement that small business owners are demanding a fresh reprieve.

Meanwhile, representatives of government ministries and district administrations in Minsk are meeting with sole entrepreneurs to hear out their grievances. According to a small business association called Perspektyva, a group of vendors in the Leninski district met with officials of the trade and economy ministries, the State Standardization Committee and the district administration on January 13. Participants discussed the government`s new certification rules and the trade ministry’s proposal that vendors should be given more time to install payment terminals and allowed to share terminals.

Small business owners say that accompanying documents are virtually impossible to obtain from Russian suppliers.

Tens of thousands vendors have kept their stalls shut since the beginning of the year for fear of fines and in protest against the new certification rules.

On January 11, around 1,500 vendors gathered at the conference hall of Hotel Belarus in Minsk for a forum focusing on the ban on the sale of goods without accompanying documents. Andrey Myashkow, deputy head of the trade ministry`s Department for the Organization of Trade and Services, told participants that the matter would be discussed at the government level before the end of the week.