24 January 2018, Wednesday, 4:22

Sole traders: Strike could become just the first stage of protests


Self-employed businessmen are ready for militant actions against the ban on trade without certificates.

It has been stated by the director of the analytical centre under the Republican Confederation of Enterprise Anatoly Zmitrovich in the interview to charter97.org.

- On May 16 Lukashenka signed the decree #222, which prohibits for sole traders the trade without certificates and accompanying papers. What was the reaction of self-employed businessmen for that?

- All businessmen think that it is a trade war of big business with small business. And when the authorities speak about equal conditions for doing business in Belarus, they are hypocritical. It is the same as to speak about equality of Russian and Belarusian languages in our country – it is simply non-existent. That is why there should be special conditions for small business, like in all normal countries. It is the basis.

I have held a meeting in Rechytsa today, and previously in Zhlobin, and I can say for sure that people cannot comply with the conditions under the decree #222 by Lukashenka.

- At the same time, sole traders have been given back the right to employ workers. Will it change the existing situation considerably?

- I think not any more. It will be just a kind of indicator, and within the next month the authorities are going to see how many sole traders have employed workers, and this number will stay at the market. It is important to understand however that this decree does not allow businessmen selling stock in trade without certificates, but allows selling them under a condition of paying a double rate of a single tax. And considering the low cost of stock in trade, all the money received by sole traders for that, are to be given to the budget as taxes. In this way the state in fact dismisses sole traders without compensation.

- What sole traders are going to do in this situation, are there any coordinated actions plan?

- There is an action plan, but it should be supported by other sole traders. At today’s meeting I have said that this decree is a punishment for businessmen for their lack of initiative and absence of active citizenship. If they had an active citizenship, if they were members of large associations of sole traders, and so on, this would not have happened.

When we agreed to a compromise with the government on transition to private unitary enterprises 7 years ago, we lost. And when we went the length of staging a regulated conflict relating goods certification, we have won, at least a year.

That is why sole traders are ready for militant actions and are going to set a trap to the government, a trap they do not even expect. And if there would be a strike, it would be just the first stage, which is to show mobilization of sole traders. But the most important things are yet to come. If sole traders would be able to become organized and show that many of them are ready to defend their interests, then the second, the third, the fifth steps are to follow, and each of them is to bring positive results. And the ultimate goal is victory.