Entrepreneurs take to streets fighting for right to work

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About two hundred of Brest entrepreneurs came to the meeting, which took place in the market behind the local Central Department Store. SPs decided not to work from the 1st of February and to not pay taxes in the budget, calling the actions of the authorities who introduced mandatory certification of goods a crime against themselves.

“We ask for loans from Russia and the IMF, but we refuse tax. It’s funny. We give money to the budget, and that money is big. Anyway, it is a large sum of money for the local budget. And so today to give up our taxes is a crime by the state. This is an economic sabotage,” said a businesswoman from Brest Alena Kustus.

Sellers are determined and plan to go to the end until the decree is canceled. However, according to entrepreneurs, they should not expect much from the local authorities regarding this issue.

“The only thing that our local officials can do is to bring our point of view to the top. That’s all. Our officials cannot do anything. So turning to them is useless,” said Kanstantsin, a businessman from Brest.

Sellers from Homiel also tried to turn to the local officials. SPs in Rechitsa decided to suspend their work next month. But the pressure on sellers comes not only from the state but also the administration of the market, which makes them pay rent, despite the closed shutters.

Already this Friday the Rechitsa businessmen are going to Homiel Regional Executive Committee to decide their future. If officials do not listen to the traders…

“Many will leave for Russia and Ukraine. Some will change activity. And a half of them will become homeless and will sit on the neck of the state,” predicted Aleg Shabetnik, an entrepreneur from Rechitsa.

But entrepreneurs still believe in their victory.

“When the new season comes, and the people realize that there is no place to buy a product, that’s when people will come out and will be in solidarity with us,” said Alena Maroz, seller from Rechitsa.

A few days ago, SPs of the “Southern market” in Hrodna filed a collective appeal to overturn the controversial decree 222, signed it and sent it to the Council of Ministers and the Presidential Administration of the country. During a meeting with officials of Hrodna, one of the traders said that all his friends have gone abroad since the homeland today gives Belarusians no opportunity to work.

“One of them works in Moscow – another in St. Petersburg, one more went to Sweden, and another works in Warsaw as assistant builder,” says the seller from Hrodna.

Empty markets is a pervasive pattern. A resident of Vitsebsk Dzmitry Litsvin posted a video from the “Southern market”, where he showed empty rows of snow-blinds even on weekends. In his video he addressed Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Empty markets mean empty income statements, said the chairman of the NGO “Perspective” Anatoly Shumchanka noting that employers in the regions will file zero income statements next month.

Vital Babin, Belsat

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