Commentary to Decree No. 258 of 5 June 2013

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko signed Decree No. 258 “Concerning additions and amendments introduced to presidential decree No. 667 of 27 December 2007” on 5 June.

    The document aims to streamline the order of withdrawal and provision of land plots and includes a set of measures aimed at promoting rational use of farmlands and forests.

    In particular, the decree provides for the mandatory recovery of losses of the agricultural and forestry industries incurred by the withdrawal or temporary use of farmlands and forests by persons who are provided with recallable land plots. Instead of recovering the aforementioned losses, the land user can take an obligation to work out design and estimation documents to reclaim lands which are not used for agricultural purposes within two years provided that the total area of these land plots is equal to recallable territories. The land user will also have to take measures to involve these lands in agriculture.

    In line with the decree, the location of land plots eligible for withdrawal from forest reserves and the procedure of transferring such lands into other categories should be harmonized with the President. The procedure of submitting proposals on the withdrawal of lands from agricultural reserves to the head of state has been specified as well. Moreover, the decree includes an extensive list of cases when the decision on land withdrawal and the transfer of lands into other categories can be made by oblast administrations without prior harmonization with the President of the Republic of Belarus.

    In order the improve the order of provision of land plots to implement investment agreements signed with the Republic of Belarus, the decree includes a norm that district and city administrations should make up lists of land plots that can be provided to investors. Administration bodies should publish these lists on their websites. The investment agreements to build facilities at those land plots should be signed within 30 days after the land plots were placed on the lists.

    In order to distinguish the most profitable projects to build residential housing and exclude possible violations, the decree specifies that in Minsk and oblast capitals land plots can be provided to unitary enterprises and legal persons who have won relevant tenders.

    The decree shall enter into force on 1 September 2013.