15 December 2017, Friday, 20:44

'Tax on Shopping' to Be Introduced in Belarus?

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The regime badly needs currency.

On December 6 the National Bank of Belarus published interesting figures: 22 months in a row Belarusians sell more currency than buy. But the net sale of cash currency has hit all-time low.

Belarusians have always been famous for their economical habits. To save money for a "rainy day" is a distinctive feature of the national character. The "rainy day" for the Belarusian economy has long come and protracted for years, and savings of Belarusians have run dry. Who will replenish the foreign currency in the country? The representative of the Belarusian National Congress in Slonim, former individual entrepreneur Viktar Marchyk answers questions of Charter97.org.

- This situation in the foreign exchange market is absolutely natural and in the spirit of our time. Once Belarusians survived only due to "mad money". Until 2011 somehow it was possible to buy currency, make some savings. And then the dollar grew threefold.

And then the domino principle worked: people began to lose their jobs, income and purchasing power decreased. As a result, our entrepreneurs began to go bankrupt. It was the chain reaction. In 2015 the second wave of the crisis began. It hit all segments of the population.

And how do our authorities solve economic problems? Do they carry out reforms? No way. Lukashenka stated that all reforms had been carried out. Of course, he is satisfied with everything and he likes to say that everything is done for the people. Only in his understanding, people are those who work in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and live in Drazdy. Others are neglected. Lukashenka's objective being in power is to ensure his well-being and well-being of his inner circle. And the only method to run the country is to legalize racketeering.

- Belarus has a large number of debts in foreign currency, enterprises also have to somehow settle with foreign suppliers. Where will the authorities take money from?

- It's very simple. The farther into the forest, the thicker the trees. Prior to that, our management managed to stay afloat. There was a balance, people sold currency, somehow made ends meet. Now there is no place to take money from.

People abuse the self-appointed "ruler" left and right. They say, let Lukashenka survive on the salary we receive. On TV he says that he does not know how much he earns. Like, I put all the money in my nightstand, and Kolya takes as much as he needs. And our brother is on a tight budget. One needs to somehow survive.

So it turns out that savings of Belarusians have run dry, and Lukashenka will look for someone to milk. One needs only to wait for new decrees, new orders and laws that go contrary to the Constitution. He will increase the financial pressure on people.

- What spheres can become a sourse of foreign currency for the authorities?

- We suffer from dollar and euro peg. Once individual entrepreneurs were bound to currency in renting. Protests actions made it possible to bind the rent to a basic unit.

But let's not be deceived. If there is such an acute need for currency - everything can be turned back.

Our motorists pay for "green cards" and insurance in currency; it's also a field of activity for our "law inventors".

The statement of Lukashenka about the fee of $100 for those who want to go shopping abroad comes to mind. Here is a very "good" idea for a new fee. Our warehouses will be 'cleared up', and if you want to buy something cheaper, go abroad, then pay a fee in currency.

- Who will suffer the most from such "exchange fraud"?

- As I said, everything is interconnected. And the chain reaction will hit people with low-income and retired people. They are now in a tight corner.

Those who have some business, some savings will continue to be heavily in debt. It will be the end of small business; our authorities have long been achieving this. "The lion's share" of Belarusians do not live, but survive.

Officials are used to being parasites and shirkers. The shirker lives at the expense of bees. And in our country someone is just impressed by a similar behavioral type.

If we turn to the domestic level, then our power is a drinking neighbor who constantly lends money on a bottle, but does not want to pay back. But in fact the patience is about to run dry.

One needs to stop treating symptoms and pay attention to the source of trouble. There are two ways out: either some individuals mend their ways, or we change this power. I see no other ways out.