Decree No3, popularly known as the “law against social parasites”, will not be cancelled in Belarus. However, the tax will be suspended in 2017, President Alexander Lukashenko said at a government meeting on 9 March.
The head of state ordered the government to prepare lists of those who must make payments under Decree No. 3 by 1 April.
“The decree must be adjusted during March. It will not be abolished. The decree will stay in force, with the adjustments I have just mentioned,” the Belarusian leader said.
The President announced the following decision: those who have been included in the relevant lists won’t have to pay the tax in 2017.
“Those who paid in 2016, will not have to do in 2017 if they are still out of work. If they get employed, we will return the money from the budget at people’s request,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
According to him, this decree is not some economic and financial document. “It is about ideology and morality. The state is not going to get big money from it. The key goal of the decree is to make people work,” the head of state noted.
All tax money – for the children
As for the allocation of funds collected from the tax, they should be directed to support children, Alexander Lukashenko said.
“The money should remain in local budgets. This money should be spent on children’s needs only,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.
The president also instructed to finalize the lists of tax payers till 1 October. In case someone disagrees on the status, local authorities should meet those people, talk to them and help them find a job.
Besides, Alexander Lukashenko believes that social unrest may be prevented if tax payers are allowed to pay in parts, not the whole sum at once.
“People should know that they will have to pay a year in advance. Or get a job and work as other citizens do.”
Decree No3 “On the Prevention of Social Dependence” was adopted in 2015. The document imposes a special tax – equivalent to about 200 U.S. dollars – upon Belarusians who work less than 183 days a year and do not sign up at the country’s labor bureaus.
The deadline for paying the tax for 2015 expired on 20 February 2017. Over 54,000 Belarusians paid the tax, although the number of those who were obliged to pay it, according to the authorities, is 470,000.
The law has triggered mass protests in the capital of Belarus and other cities in recent months.