Session to discuss draft ordinance aimed at stimulating employment

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The employment-related issues should be dealt with right away, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the employment promotion decree on 13 January.

Taking part in the meeting were Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Valery Mitskevich, Vice Premier Natalia Kochanova, Finance Minister Vladimir Amarin, Interior Minister Igor Shunevich, Tax and Duties Minister Sergei Nalivaiko and Labor and Social Security Minister Marianna Shchetkina.

The head of state reminded that in October 2014 he had instructed the government and the Belarus President Administration to work out practical measures to involve jobless people into work and to deprive the so-called idlers of benefits and allowances.

The President remarked that a number of measures in this field have already been taken in the country. “First, the minimal work record has been increased from 10 to 15 years. We have made this decision. And we have agreed that it is the first step. The minimal work record may be increased to 20 years. Pensions will be granted after this period of work. At present the work record is 15 years,” the head of state said.

Apart from that, the age of social pension in the case of the absence of the required qualifying years has been increased by 5 years. “Maybe, we will make certain amendments in the future. They will allow increasing the period for those who did not make a contribution to the economy. Yes, the social pension is not big. But on the whole the country spends billions of rubles, even trillions of rubles per year,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state believes that the decision to enhance the impact of the work record on the size of labor pensions was right.

“However, even if these measures are able to increase the workforce numbers, this will happen only in the long-term perspective. We should not postpone the work to ensure efficient employment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, about 500,000 able-bodied people in Belarus are not officially employed and do not pay taxes, however they take advantage of social benefits provided by the government, like free healthcare service and education, subsidized housing and utility services and subsidized transportation, etc. “Therefore, the government has the right to ask them: at whose cost will you live? These people should work, pay taxes and live at their own expense. Welfare mentality is unacceptable,” the Belarusian leader said. At the same time he noted that the government will keep helping those who cannot help themselves for objective reasons, like people with disabilities.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the draft decree is targeted, first of all, against people who do not pay taxes to the budget. “Maybe, they work somewhere, but not for the state. Therefore, in the focus are tax evaders. These are scroungers who do nothing, work nowhere and maybe even violate the law. These are also drunkards lying on the sidewalk and those who forgot that they have legs and arms to come to work and do something and pay taxes to the state,” the President said.

The head of state emphasized the need to analyze whether the draft decree will be efficient enough to prevent welfare mentality and how the efforts aimed to combat parasitism and other social ills will be implemented in practice.

“You are professionals and you were instructed to draft a comprehensive decree without being concerned of what the so-called fifth column in Belarus would say about it or whether the mass media in Russia or other countries would criticize it,” the President said addressing the participants of the meeting. “Please let me deal with political issues. I will make decisions taking into account political nuances. Your main goal is to draw up the document in the professional way, and make sure we do not to miss on anything,” the head of state added.

"The draft decree must be completely relevant. There is nothing to be afraid of. Scroungers should work. Those who do not pay taxes should pay them. This is a normal, civilized practice,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President also emphasized that parasitism is extremely detrimental to the society. "Those who work honestly often ask themselves: why I have to work day and night while he has almost the same things that I do without doing anything. This is a serious problem, and we must resolve it taking into consideration the current developments in our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"Why would we look at others? When the crisis hit, those who criticized us now regulate prices and openly talk about manual management of the economy. Therefore, we need to pay less attention to what others would say and focus on the problems facing our society and the state,” the Belarusian leader added.

At the end of the session Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an instruction to finalize the draft ordinance within a month.