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Tuesday, 26 December 2017 07:55

SMEs seen as important component of sustainable economic development in Belarus

Small and medium-sized enterprises are an important component of sustainable economic development, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko noted as he met with representatives of the business community on 22 December, BelTA informs.

“We have discussed the issues of business promotion on many occasions. However, this is the first time we meet in such a broad format. Among those present here are representatives of the authorities and business, from artisans to owners of large private companies. We are united by one thing: we clearly understand that small and medium-sized businesses is a major component of sustainable economic development, and hence the existence of the state,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president said that looking through the morning media and reading reviews, he found out that some politicized structures feel offended for not being invited to the meeting. “With regard to the complaints of these gentlemen I must say that it is not a political meeting and there are no political campaigns yet. True, the election campaign to the local councils is in progress. So you need to go there and engage in dialogue without pouting. Today I invited the people who do business and who get involved in politics when there are political campaigns. So there is no need to feel offended that not all have been invited to attend the meeting. We could not invite everyone. I suggest we meet those who feel offended during parliamentary, presidential elections, because they have more policy on their mind rather than business,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko drew attention to the fact that no one is prohibited from participating in politics. “I even insist that businessmen be involved in politics. But you need to remember that rules are different in politics. Try to regroup from economy to politics, and everything will be fine. In any case, one should not mix and confuse these concepts,” he stressed.

This year, on the instructions of the president, government officials and entrepreneurs did a large-scale work to improve the business climate and stimulate business activity in the country. “Many of the people present here took an active part in this work. They put forward initiatives, discussed the documents and made appropriate proposals on their refinement,” the head of state noted.

In the autumn Alexander Lukashenko signed a package of documents: the ordinance and seven decrees to give a powerful impetus to the development of the private sector. They aim to eliminate redundant administrative barriers, which, according to the business community, hinder the development of business.

“Today, I want to hear the honest answer to the question whether the measures taken are enough? I do not want us to start the new year with the old baggage,” the president said.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, the youth think that doing business is a piece of cake today: come, register and you are rich tomorrow. “Tell them that it is sleepless nights and hard work, especially when you invest your money. Nothing comes easy. Perhaps, someone, one in a thousand, will be lucky. The majority will have to work hard. This decision does not mean that we will have a lot of businessmen tomorrow. It is better to start with someone who has the corresponding experience. Those who are present here are all successful businessmen and your work is a direct demonstration that business is well-developed in Belarus. Those who want to work, can do it,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, it took decade for some countries to deal with bribes and mafia gangs in business. “We did not allow this to happen here, and we will never have it in Belarus,” he stressed.

The president stressed that the work with businessmen in Belarus began long ago. The relations between business and the government entered a new stage in 2009. Alexander Lukashenko instructed to work out proposals for the gradual liberalization of economic activity. They were included in the Directive on the Development of Entrepreneurship Initiative and Promotion of Business Activity, issued in 2010. The document is still in force. Using the document, the government has adopted, changed or abolished about 200 legal acts.

“A lot has been done. We have achieved good results. Belarus has moved to the 38th place in the business doing ranking. The progress was obvious. Eight years have passed since then. Today there is a need to take more decisive steps to keep up with the trends that the world economy offers today," the head of state said.

The president stressed that business should be fair. “Creativity, honesty, transparency and maximum responsibility for employees and the society should be the basis of your activity. No ‘grey' schemes. I believe that criminal cases that involve officials and businessmen cast a shadow both on the authorities and the business community. Criminal activity is a shame. It must be eliminated. I hope we are on the same page on this matter. Otherwise, we have different paths to follow,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

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