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Senior DPM says entrepreneurs should not be jailed over delayed tax payments

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Belarus' First Deputy Prime Minister Aliaksandr Turchyn. Photo: BELTA

Belarus needs to focus on the development of small- and medium-size businesses, First Deputy Prime Minister Aliaksandr Turchyn said in an interview with Belarus 1 state-run TV channel aired on 26 August. 

The recently appointed high-ranking official slammed the current state program to support entrepreneurship. "The entrepreneurship support program needs to be revised. Unfortunately, it is currently not working," he concluded. Turchyn reckons that local officials should treat entrepreneurs like partners. 

The DPM also proposed a softer treatment towards business people when they are investigated for tax evasion. When a businessman does not pay all the taxes, he has assets, property. Калі бізнэсовец не даплаціў падаткі, то ў яго ёсць актывы, ёсць маёмасць. They should be arrested during investigation only in unique exclusive cases, in the view of Turchyn.

The law-enforcement can use other forms - the arrest of property, a written plea not to leave the country. "Investigation is underway but the business is working. Nothing gets shut down. The court rules to pay, he or she pays. If they fail, that's fine. The property is frozen." 

Turchyn added that business people will eventually get rid of fears that they face harsh punishment for a minor mistake. Punishment should be proportional to the damage caused, he said.