Vendors ready to strike over authorities’ decision to change market status 11:19, 02/02/2005, photo by ByMedia.net
Vendors of the large shopping area Zhdanovichi outside Minsk petitioned the executive authorities, including the Presidential Administration, to restore tax breaks revoked following the local authorities’ decision to change the status of their market.
The Ministry of Taxes and Duties insists that after Zhdanovichi was granted the status of a trading center in May 2004, all retailers, including those selling goods from outdoors, must pay a new, higher tax rate.
Anatoly Shumchenko, leader of the vendors’ Perspektiva association, told BelaPAN that the retailers were ordered to pay each around $600 in retroactive taxes and additional $300 in fines.
“People don’t have so much money. Many of those selling from tents work on week-ends only,” Mr. Shumchenko noted.
According to him, Viktor Dashkevich, chief tax inspector in Minsk, has partially accepted the proprietors’ objections and his office ceased demanding that they pay taxes according to the new rate.
“Now, we shall wait for the official reply from the authorities,” Mr. Shumchenko said adding, “we want the market status of Zhdanovichi restored because the market with its stalls does not meet the trading center criteria. The Minsk-based Dinamo market has similar stalls and no one announces it a trading center.”
In case the authorities ignore the vendors’ demands, Perspektiva may stage protests, strikes or appeal to court, Mr. Shumchenko stressed.
Leonid Malakhov, leader of the Chastnaya Sobstvennost [Private Ownership] association, told BelaPAN that his organization fully supports the demands of Perspektiva and Zhdanovichi market vendors.