Belarus - Number of audits reduced in Belarus to enhance business climate

The decrease in the number of audits of business entities is aimed at eradicating red-tape practices and enhancing the business climate in Belarus.

The statement was made by Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky at a joint session of the Council of Ministers Presidium and the boards of the Belarus President Administration and the State Control Committee in Minsk on 15 September. The session tabled a draft presidential decree designed to improve auditing practices.

Sergei Sidorsky reminded about the instructions issued by the head of state concerning putting auditing practices in order. The draft decree takes into account multiple recommendations of self-employed businessmen and corporations that complained about auditing practices. "Therefore reducing the number of audits is one of the vital things for eradicating red-tape practices and creating a business climate in the country," stressed the Prime Minister. "There are several things that we believe to be worth discussing together with the Belarus President Administration and the State Control Committee".

Belarus Vice Premier Andrei Kobyakov said that audits will be performed in Belarus for preventive purposes instead of punitive ones. He underlined that the draft document is based on the demand stated by the Belarus President in his address to the people and the National Assembly on 23 April 2009. Belarus needs a control system that will enable preventive audits instead of punitive ones without suppressing the business climate development. The draft decree is one of the most important and long-awaited documents in the economic policy of the Government, underlined Andrei Kobyakov. He reminded that decree No 689 of 19 December 2008 suspended control and supervisory audits until a proper auditing system is in place.

Belarusian business entities will be protected against unreasoned interference of auditing agencies in their operation. The statement was made by Deputy Tax Minister Vasily Kamenko. For the first time a draft decree introduces regulations to limit the interference of auditing bodies and officials, said Vasily Kamenko. The document guarantees protection of rights and interests of business entities against unwarranted interference and arbitrary use of office by civil servants.

A restrictive list of reasons necessitating scheduled and unscheduled inspections has been introduced. Unscheduled inspections will have to be authorized by the head or deputy head of an auditing body. Thus, an unscheduled inspection will need a warrant.

Apart from that, auditors will have to keep to the matters that are subject to auditing. Reasons for and procedures for withdrawing original documents have been specified. Such measures as suspension or operation prohibition of a business entity, suspension of account operations, seizure of material valuables for committed offences can be used by the auditing body only if the measures are laid down by a decree or other legal acts.

The draft decree allows 15 working days for auditing a self-employed businessman and 30 working days for auditing a corporation.

The draft decree unifies auditing procedures and auditing reports.

Auditing agencies will have to prove malpractices of business entities. A business entity, which is subject to auditing, stays bona fide unless the auditing agency proves otherwise, stressed Vasily Kamenko. If regulations are not totally clear on a disputed issue, a decision in favor of the audited business entity has to be taken.

The Deputy Tax Minister also named other measures laid down by the draft decree. The measures are generally aimed at perfecting the existing auditing system. The document has been passed by 58 government agencies, without a single remark in most of them.

With the decree in place, Belarus will have all the necessary conditions for increasing the effectiveness of control by the government. Simultaneously the protection of legal rights of all economic entities will be substantially increased, stated Vasily Kamenko.



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