News / 01.10.13

Sergey Antusevich: by imposing tax on jobless persons, authorities acknowledge high unemployment level

Sergey Antusevich, a Deputy Chairman of the BKDP (Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions) has suggested that if the official unemployment rate of 0.5% matched reality, the government would have unlikely impose a tax on non-employed citizens.

Let us remind you that on July 12 of this year, when speaking at a meeting with top managers of the Mogilev Region, the Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich stated the feasibility of introducing a tax on non-workers.

He noted that about 445,000 people of capable age in Belarus do not officially work anywhere; therefore, they make no contribution into the national economy. In his opinion, one way to remedy the situation is a tax on non-workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has approved the idea. This was announced today, September 30, during an online conference, by Pyotr Grushnik, the First Deputy Minister. He said that "at present, the government is considering a compensation mechanism of compensation by the non-working capable population of a part of state expenses on providing them and their families with the social services, subsidized by the state."

"It's a throwback to the Soviet practice; and we can only pity that our government can't come up with anything new. Instead of the methods that should have been written off into scrap long ago, they'd better think about how to modernize and liberalize the economy, and create new jobs. Nothing is heard about construction of new plants and factories, state-owned or private, where the non-workers, who are treated by the authorities as parasites, could find workplaces and benefit to the country," Sergey Antusevich has commented to the Praca-by.info the above Grushnik's statement.

"We understand quite well how difficult it is today to find a job with decent wages; how many obstacles one must be overcome in order to open his or her own business; how difficult is to get retrained if one has lost job. The state has failed to create the conditions for these people, but calls them parasites. We know that the methods proposed by the government are no solution to the problem. There are many examples from the Soviet times, when people just tried to get employed anywhere – at half- or quarter-time employment, as guards or janitors, just to avoid accusations of parasitism," he has added.

Moreover, the union leader said that the initiative of the government indicates that the official unemployment rate, which currently stands at 0.5%, is not true.

"Should the country have only half a percent of the unemployed, or even one percent – within the limits of statistical error – there'd be no reason for the govt to do it all. After all, it needs quite a lot of labour to create all of these mechanisms, to identify these non-workers, to calculate how much they need to compensate, say, in utility bills, if workers and non-workers live in one apartment and so on. It is unlikely that revenues from such compensations will outweigh the expenses on the above labour, if the unemployment rate is only 0.6%. Such a tax is akin to fighting windmills," Sergey Antusevich has summed up.

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