AEB asks the Council of Ministers to establish an exhaustive list of types of goods and services, which will be subject to price growth restrictions
According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated March 30, 2020 No. 184 "On temporary measures to stabilize the situation in the consumer market", the Government of the Republic of Belarus is introducing measures to limit the monthly increase in selling prices (tariffs) for all goods (services) in April-June 2020 at the level of no more than 0.5% compared to the prices in effect as of April 1, 2020. According to the norms of Resolution No. 184 (paragraphs 1, 2), these restrictions apply to organizations of all forms of ownership.
Considering that this Resolution will contribute to the deterioration of the financial situation of many organizations in the current difficult economic conditions, the Association has prepared an appeal to the Council of Ministers with a petition to establish an exhaustive list of types of goods and services that will be subject to price increases.
First, in its appeal, the AEB draws attention to the fact that Resolution No. 184 contradicts the requirements of the current legislation, contains a number of gaps in terms of law enforcement practice:
1. As a general rule in the Republic of Belarus, free prices are applied for goods (works, services) (Article 6 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus dated 05/10/1999 No. 255-3 "On Pricing"). The list of goods (works, services), prices (tariffs) for which are regulated by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, state bodies (organizations) are established by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus dated February 25, 2011 No. 72 "On some issues of price (tariff) regulation in the Republic of Belarus" ( hereinafter - Decree No. 72).
In turn, Resolution No. 184 introduces regulation by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus by introducing restrictions on price increases by no more than 0.5% for absolutely all types of goods (services), which contradicts:
- Decree No. 72, which defines a limited list of goods (works, services), the regulation of prices for which is established by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus;
- Directive of the President of the Republic of Belarus of December 31, 2010 No. 4 "On the development of entrepreneurial initiative and stimulation of business activity in the Republic of Belarus", which establishes the need for a transition to market-based pricing mechanisms, as well as exclusion of government interference in the pricing process of business entities (paragraphs 2 , 3 subparagraph 1.1. Of paragraph 1).
Based on the above, it can be concluded that Resolution No. 184 contradicts normative legal acts of greater legal force, thereby violating the principle of legality (constitutionality), enshrined in paragraph 4 of paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 130-3 of July 17, 2018 legal acts ".
2. The mechanism for monitoring compliance with the requirements of Resolution 184 also raises questions. First, the current legislation, including the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Administrative Offenses ", does not contain the concept of" gross violations of the rules of trade. "Previously, the consequence of" gross violations of the rules of trade "could be the suspension for up to 90 days of the operation of a commercial facility, a public food in the event that, based on the results of the inspection of such an object, facts of violation of the legislation on pricing were established. This consequence was provided for today by the not valid edition of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 05.12.2014 No. 567 "On additional measures to protect consumer rights." activities of organizations and individual entrepreneurs are prohibited for two years from the date of their state registration (paragraph 2 of clause 7 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 510 of 16.10.2009 "On improving control (supervisory) activities in the Republic of Belarus"). Therefore, it is not clear on what the regulatory authorities will check prices formation of newly created business entities during the moratorium on inspections.
Secondly, according to the Association of European Businesses, the imposition of strict imperative restrictions on the regulation of selling prices by the state will have an extremely negative impact on the financial position of organizations. Since the beginning of the year, due to the influence of external factors (the COVID-19 coronavirus infection pandemic, the fall in oil prices, the slowdown in the global economy), an accelerated devaluation has been observed in the Republic of Belarus. So, for the period from 01.01.2020 to 02.04.20220, the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble, set by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, increased against the US dollar by 23%, against the euro - by 20%. When forming the budget for 2020, the US dollar exchange rate was 2.2447 Belarusian rubles. rubles on average per year, the rate as of April 2, 2020 - 2.5973 Belarusian rubles. rubles.
In view of the current situation, organizations that partially or completely import raw materials, as well as organizations that borrow loans in foreign currency, incur additional costs. During the first quarter of 2020, many enterprises were selling part of the remnants of products manufactured in 2019 under other currency conditions, but now the cost of production goods has grown. Thus, the mechanism of “manual” containment of price increases incurs expenses of organizations, including those of private ownership, which are not compensated by the state. At the same time, organizations selling goods to the domestic market of the Republic of Belarus, in a difficult economic situation and high competition, will continue to remain interested in maintaining consumer demand for their goods, and, accordingly, the increase in selling prices (if necessary) will be carried out at a progressive pace without sharp movements, but this, in turn, will ensure the functioning of enterprises of various forms of ownership with the preservation of jobs and ensuring social stability in the country.
Based on the above, as well as being guided by paragraph 2 of Article 73 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus dated July 17, 2018 No. 130-3 "On Normative Legal Acts", the Association of European Businesses petitioned the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus to amend the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated March 30 2020 № 184 "On temporary measures to stabilize the situation in the consumer market", namely the establishment of an exhaustive list of types of goods and services, which will be subject to the restriction of price increases.