18 January 2018, Thursday, 4:28

Regions call on Minsk to have strike together


Sole traders from regions call on their Minsk colleagues to join protests.

Iryna Yaskevich, the head of the organising group to create the trade union Together, called charter97.org to answer Minsk-based sole trader Aliaksandr Makayeu, who said Minsk and the regions would not form the united front against decree No. 222 that obliges market traders to have certificates and supporting documents on the goods imported to Belarus from July 1.

Sole traders planned to file zero income tax returns on June 30, meet with the local authorities on July 1 and inform them they wouldn't work, register as unemployed on July 2 and come to Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk on July 3 to protest against decree No. 222.

– Maybe Aliaksandr Makayeu made this remark too early. It's hard to keep the balance now, and such statements are really discouraging. If you cannot influence people in Minsk, don't discourage those who are trying to do something. I think Minsk will partially support this initiative. One should not speak on behalf of all.

– What did you do to unite sole traders in Vitebsk?

– We held two meetings in Vitebsk: at Polatsk and Smalensk markets. We know there are problems, including those relating to goods traffic. We have more questions than answers.

We also sent appeals to the Council of Ministers and Lukashenka. We received three papers saying “please wait for a reply”. We are waiting. We wrote that if we don't have explanations on how to work further on July 1, we won't work. Minsk probably believes the promises of the authorities, or they signed a “non-aggression pact”.

June 30, the day when sole traders have a forum in Minsk, means nothing. I think it is a crime to hold such events so late. We don't have additional days. We don't have June 31 to have time to make decisions and change the situation. People have to make decisions before the forum.

Our activists will gather tomorrow. People are asking me: “What will we do?” I have a feeling that we are like from another planet, that Minsk has different laws.

– What would you like to say to Minsk sole traders?

– We want understanding. We need your support, not the words “Our congratulations, regions! You are alone”. I am in a panic. People ask me what is going on, why those who cannot influence the situation even at one market discourage the others.

We hope Minsk will read the documents carefully and understand we have just promises instead of guarantees. But no one believes promises. The authorities have their instructions, and they will use them.

If you say about the alleged lack of solidarity, it will lead to no good. I don't say Aliaksandr Makayeu is a bad person, but you should be responsible for your words. You shouldn't be afraid of looking soft. If you want to do something, do it quickly and politely.

Belarusian sole traders still have a hope. There are some facts that one cannot deny. We are tolerant and credulous, but unfortunately, we cannot say the same about auditors.

Under decree No. 222, sole traders must have certificates and documents on all goods they import to Belarus from July 1. The documents include primary accounting documents they should receive in a foreign country, mandatory details of sales slips and other documents that confirm the payment for goods, as well as tax invoices. The association Perspective said several times decree No. 222 was nonviable, because the requirement of certification cannot be fulfilled.