The Decree No. 1 signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on January 25, did not include rules on levying a “tax on parasites” from able-bodied unemployed citizens. Persons, previously recognized as payers of this fee, are now exempt from payment.
The Decree No. 1 provides that the government will have to establish forecast indicators for promoting employment, and local authorities will have to ensure “individual work with citizens when carrying out work on their employment and resocialization of persons leading an antisocial way of life.”
There is no mentioning of the “tax on parasites” in the new decree. Instead, from January 1, 2019, the so-called “parasites” will pay state-subsidized services in full. The specific list of such services will be determined by the government. Local authorities will set up special commissions that will promote the employment of citizens. The commission will include deputies, specialists from local authorities and representatives of public organizations. The decree presents to the commissions broad powers, including those on making decisions about the temporary release of able-bodied citizens not engaged in the economy, from the duty to pay for services at full cost in the presence of a difficult life situation.
In addition, the authorities will take measures to intensify preventive work with “social parasites” and the activities of tax authorities to identify hidden incomes of individuals. What will be provided for these measures is not specified.
Recall that the so-called “Decree on parasites” (Decree No. 3) was signed on April 2, 2015 and obliged all residents of Belarus, who were not officially employed for at least 183 days a year, to pay a tax of 360 BYN. The decree came into force on January 1, 2016. The ‘tax on parasites’ provoked mass protests in Minsk and regions in February-March 2017, it was suppressed by the siloviki. Simultaneously with the repressions against the protesters, Lukashenka imposed a moratorium on the collection of the tax and promised to adopt a new version of the decree.