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The Buzz in Belarus: Interview with Konstantin Mikhel of VMP Vlasova Mikhel & Partners

The Buzz in Belarus: Interview with Konstantin Mikhel of VMP Vlasova Mikhel & Partners

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According to Konstantin Mikhel, Managing Partner of VMP Vlasova Mikhel & Partners, new decrees, regulations, and changes in the criminal code are just around the corner to ease the lives of businesses.

"The decree concerning the IT sector, which is already on the President’s table waiting to be signed any day now, is aimed at facilitating the inflow of foreign investments and integrating new technologies and innovations," Mikhel says. "It will ensure the free flow of capital, lower taxes, establish a visa-free entry regime for investors, and support biotechnology, space technology, artificial intelligence technologies, and unmanned systems for transport. The IT market will be free from a lot of bureaucratic procedures, currency control, and contractual documentation requirements. Plans call for the development of crypto exchange services, the attraction of financing through ICOs, and the use of cryptocurrencies and tokens. It is expected that changes in the legislation will lead to an increase in jobs and attract investment in the country."

Mikhel says that many experts agree that, as a result of the decree, "Belarus will stand out as the leading destination for IT."

At the same time, according to Mikhel, in order to improve business conditions in the country, President Aleksandr Lukashenko has recently issued a new decree restricting any increase of taxes and prohibiting the introduction of new ones until 2020, with a five-year statute of limitations period for collecting taxes. This decree, Mikhel says, "also reduces significantly the procedures to start new businesses. In the construction field, for example, it won’t be necessary anymore to make a tender in the private sector. Grounds for subsidiary (vicarious) liability are significantly reduced, and the owner and the director of a company may be liable only if the insolvency of the company is caused by their deliberate actions. Sanitation, environmental, and fire safety requirements have been reduced and simplified as well. The business community is happy with the decree, for it will improve business conditions for everyone." According to the other Presidential Decree the list of licenses for different businesses is significantly shorter as well.

Finally, in terms of the criminal code, according to the VMP Managing Partner, the Belarusian President has instructed the Government to prepare new regulations concerning sentences for economic crimes: "The current sentences are considered to be too harsh, with a lot of imperative clauses in the legislation. Investors might also feel discouraged by this aspect."

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