Why does the president delay with signing the law in benefits?

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The legislation has been lying unsigned on the president’s desk for 18 days. What was the rush about passing it quickly at the parliament?

On May 23, lawmakers passed the bill in two readings within 1.5 hours. On May 28, it was approved by the Council of the Republic, the upper chamber of the Belarus’s National Assembly.

Valery Lektarau, the deputy chairman of the Labor and Social Security Committee at the House of Representatives, believes that the legislation was not drafted in a rush. He repeated seven times to the European Radio for Belarus how long the document was reviewed at the parliament.

“The draft was at the parliament for four years. We collected all the people concerned. Four years is not a rush.

Four years is a long period, indeed. But nothing was heard about this legislation over the past four years. Debates started only several months back. No wonder because the president ordered to pass it as a priority and without any frenzy. What is he waiting for now?

The law is to become effective from January 1, 2008. Six months before this date, the law must be signed and published. President’s spokesman Pavel Liogki gives his account on this matter.

“I think that the law will be signed in the nearest future. Don’t worry. The president will sign this law. It will become effective without his signature. Besides, the president will sign a decree to set out the categories of citizens eligible for benefits.

I know that this decree is being drafted. Unfortunately, I cannot give you exact dates. I simply know that this decree must be issued before the law comes into force,” Liogki said.

The draft decree Pavel Liogki talked about has been prepared and is being reviewed, said Belarus Lasbor Minister Uladizimir Patupchyk. The ministry’s spokeswoman Galina Trafimenka told the European Radio for Belarus that the decree would be ready within a couple of weeks.

“We were given very little time. Generally, it is basically drafted. But it is still raw, so nothing much can be said yet. But it should be signed quickly.

I think the president gave us three months. About one month and a half have already passed. I think we need another two weeks and that’s it. The law will go to the president,” she said.

Anyway, if the president does not sign the law on social benefits, the decree on the targeted assistance will be enforced earlier. Thus, before benefits are abolished, the Belarusians will continue receiving both the benefits and the targeted assistance. It is still unclear who will be the recipients of this assistance.

Siargej Kamianetski, the chairman of the Labor and Social Security Committee, told our radio that the targeted assistance would be given to the families with the income of less than 80 percent of the living wage.

There is 8 percent of people who currently make less than the living wage (Br177,000) in Belarus. So, it turns out that whatever they decide on the top there, not many people could be eligible for this assistance.