21 April 2018, Saturday, 20:25
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Iryna Yaskevich: No Money, But You Pay

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Individual entrepreneurs no longer believe the authorities’ promises.

“The main reason for the complicated situation in the market is the low purchasing power of the population,” — Iryna Yaskevich, a businesswoman from Vitsebsk, told in an interview to Charter97.org, summing up the work of individual entrepreneurs in 2017.

— How was the work on New Year’s eve?

— I can tell you that the work before the holidays was bad. There are several reasons for that. The first reason is instable legislation. The second one is the so-called “Uzbek sellers”, who flooded the market with cheapo goods. However, it’s not so many of them in Vitsebsk as in other regional cities. They come up with various tricks to avoid the requirements of different bylaws, in particular, the confirmation of quality of the goods that they offer.

And the main reason for the complicated situation in the market is the low purchasing power of the population. These three factors in interconnection practically nullified the entrepreneurs’ trade.

It is illustrative that on December 29, the trade was better than on 30 and 31. The impoverishment of the people also manifested itself in the fact that Belarusians bought cheaper presents for holidays.

— What are your expectations for 2018?

— I think we all have just one expectation — to be heard. We want to be seen not only as individual entrepreneurs, but also as people who want to feed their families. We have no other means for living.

Upon the introduction of new legislative acts, we want them to recognize the fact that retailers mostly purchase goods from the same retail traders in Russia.

When we buy goods we are shown a certificate, that is, we know that the goods are certified, but they do not have the right to give it to us. The same as our trading networks. This would remove the peak of tension that exists today. It would not reduce taxpayers in our country, and most importantly — people would save their jobs.

Unfortunately, as of today, about 15-17% cannot work and will not be able to do it in the near future, regardless of their desire.

Now we, the entrepreneurs, are waiting for clarifications with regard to the means of control of the tax authorities.

Also, nothing is clear about the situation with electronic invoices. Since, to date, none of the partners, operators are ready to support this project. But we have already been told that we must switch to the electronic invoicing system. It remains completely unclear what will happen to people who do not have cash registers. In general, the situation is tense.

There are also questions on the receipt of cash orders. It seems that they were abolished and new forms of strict accountability were introduced, but even the tax inspectorate itself did not fully explain the situation.

You know, there is a feeling that entrepreneurs are completely forgotten by the state. Now people have one goal — to survive.

Individual entrepreneurs have to pay both the single tax and the VAT. It's not our fault that the turnover is falling. This is primarily the impact of the three factors I have named. How can the amount of revenue grow if there are no buyers?

— So it turns out, there’s no money, but it is needed to pay to the state? What extortions impoverish the entrepreneurs most of all?

— Yes, exactly, just like in the famous phrase by Dmitri Medvedev “no money, but you pay”. This is the closed circle, in which both we, the entrepreneurs, and the buyers, found ourselves inside. We are all in the same position. All of us are individual entrepreneurs, whom the state put on the clock.

The rent remains high. The tax of those who are on a single rate is tied to the base fee. This rate here has gradations by regions, depends on the number of inhabitants. That is, smaller towns pay less, regional centers — more.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that people simply do not have money. You know, we want to pay taxes to the budget, but there's nothing we can do.

We need to either improve the situation with entrepreneurs, or understand that the small businessmen will continue to close businesses across the country. People will be forced to look for other ways of survival for their families. And this will lead to family tragedies. Husbands will go to work abroad, and wives will be left without money in a situation where prices in our country are constantly growing.

When you come to the store, it seems that it’s not a big deal that the sausage price has risen by 20 kapeikas, but this happens at the background of the stable fall in wages, raising communal tariffs and so on. Individual entrepreneurs are the same citizens who pay for kindergartens in the same way, and also buy the things that are missing in a certain kindergarten or school. We only talk about “free education”, but in fact pay another 20 to 40 rubles on a regular basis, at least once a quarter.

People are in silent expectation and no one can say what they have more today: fear, hope or desire to do something. I believe that any movement now can break this delicate balance. It's scary, but today the small businessmen have been brought to such a state that it's simply impossible to work.

To this, as I have already said, low solvency of people, unstable legislation, which especially does not take into account the interests of regions, as well as the people who bring goods to our country, have resulted. They sew a label with information that the goods are for “re-sale.” However, no one can answer us, why these products for “re-sale” come to us by wagons. Where, in what document can I read, when they were first sold?

This confuses us very much. When our entrepreneurs sell goods, the money remains in the country: they pay the rent, pay for education and other things. Meanwhile, Asian traders, hiring fake Belarusians, paying them some money, just take the proceeds out of the country. Exclude their turnover and participation in the budget.

Why don’t they give us a sip of air? For many people it is completely incomprehensible.

— What would you like to wish individual entrepreneurs in the New Year?

— I would like to congratulate all entrepreneurs on the New Year! And tell it won’t be easy. Some will have to quit. And they would have only their own naivety and trust in the officials’ empty promises to “thank” for that.

The reality is such that the budgets are empty. The municipal, regional and republican budgets need money, and, sadly, but one of the means to get incomes will be the penalty sanctions and confiscations exactly from the individual entrepreneurs.