The situation at the Belarusian markets is very unsettling again.
This time the reason for concern is the decision that all the businessmen have to keep cash registers at their workplaces from October 10. Huge fines are provided for their absence. The entrepreneurs say the cash registers are not suitable for working outdoors, and prepare for the worst. Viacherni Hrodna journalists have walked around the clothing markets and asked the entrepreneurs what they expect and how the situation will affect the customers.
What is the essence of the new rule?
The decree № 203/4 of the Council of Ministers and the National Bank states that from October 10, all who sell non-food goods in the markets, fairs and trading places are obliged to have cash register equipment. In simple words it means that all the businessmen who sell their products at the market must have cash registers...
...At Hrodna markets, the forthcoming transition to cash registers is the topic of the day. Those who are not busy at the counter gather in groups of two or three and actively discuss the new rules. At the Central Market, the men gathered in a circle, and one man was reading from his smartphone:
"If desired, the customer can change the bank servicing the cash register and enter into a service agreement with any other bank at his choice."
This was followed by an answer that the conditions at all banks are about the same, so it's still not easier.
Some of the entrepreneurs, sitting on the racks of goods, were carefully reading the advertising booklets with information about the cash registers. They were offered devices with excellent features - powerful battery, bright display, small size, reliability. However, concern was read on their faces.
"I have only negative emotions," says businesswoman Halina. "No one will give us these machines for free. The cash register alone costs from one hundred rubles. Add the monthly bank service, the subscription fee, and we also need to open an account in the bank".
"Someone is hoping that no one will check the cash registers".
While entrepreneurs are at a crossroads, the banks have found their bearings and offer traders the package of services. These include opening an account, setting up a cash register and servicing the equipment. In the Southern Market, entrepreneurs have been visited by representatives of several banks, and employees of one accounting company were walking around there on Sunday.
The conditions of accessing are the following: the cash register costs 99 rubles, the monthly subscription fee is 4.9 rubles per month, and 2.5 rubles will be charged for each payment to the account. And if you deposit cash on the account, the bank commission is 0.15 percent of the amount. A lot of people are not satisfied with such rates, but in all banks they are about the same.
"Trade is already barely running, and they have thrown us even more problems. I mean, the setup will be at our expense. Pay for this, pay for that ... So the whole Southern is strongly against the cash registers, so write it down," says one of the businesswomen.
It is not only the costs that cause dissatisfaction. Technical features of cash registers are disturbing as well. As a rule, they can't be used in temperatures below ten degrees below zero. Some of them operate off the supply line, but there is no electricity in the pavilions at the Southern market. There are battery-powered models, but they last only four hours and run out very quickly when it's cold.
"Do we have to buy five batteries each to keep the cash register running during the day, and then take them home to recharge? Now lots of people want to sell out the goods and go on indefinite leave. Someone hopes that no one will check the cash register," says businesswoman Alena and adds that some people are thinking about closing down.
The customer is deprived of choice
Chairman of the Southern Market Council of Entrepreneurs Andrei Kliapatski believes that the first to suffer from introducing cash registers will be those who have two or three years left before retirement. They won't want to spend money on monthly cash register maintenance and will close their doors. The situation is aggravated by the ban on purchasing goods abroad for cash. Since July 9, there has only been non-cash payment.
"If we talk about cash registers, they do not meet the specifics of working outdoors. Even at minus five they are not allowed to be used. The entire market will be paralyzed in the frost. Walk around - you won't hear a single positive comment about the cash registers," says Andrei.
I am perplexed why they aren't happy with the usual vouchers, which act as a receipt. They are written out at will of the buyer, but they do not enjoy popularity. According to Andrei, last year a couple of people asked him to write a voucher.
"This is fraught with price increases - gradually, not immediately. When people see an increase in price, customers blame the entrepreneurs. However, is it only in the markets that things get more expensive? It all looks like the interests of the big chains, which have flooded the malls, are being promoted. I'm not against the big players, but let the small players work, too. The average citizen is deprived of choice," sums up Kliapatski.
What will happen if you don't install cash registers in time?
The Ministry of Taxes and Levies explains that after October 10 they intend to monitor strictly the availability of cash registers among entrepreneurs. If an individual entrepreneur has no equipment or does not use it, then the employee, hired by the sole trader, will be fined up to 50 basic units (Br1,450), a sole trader will be punished with up to 100 basic units (Br2,900), a legal entity - up to 200 basic units (Br5,800).
The cash registers are required for tutors and those who rent out their homes
Entrepreneurs from the markets are not the only ones who have to use cash registers from October 10. Tutors, sellers of fruits and vegetables in the stalls, those who rent out their dwelling or other real estate for a long period of time or by the day, are also obliged to get cash registers. However, the innovation will affect only those who are engaged in the abovementioned business as a sole trader or an organization.