Currently only 6% of all administrative procedures related to doing business in Belarus can be carried out online. To complete the remaining 94%, Belarusian firms have to physically visit various government agencies. Not only does this mean additional expenses, it also increases the burden on healthcare services during the pandemic. Today, an EU initiative is helping Belarus convert the majority these procedures into electronic format.
For the past three years, the International Finance Corporation has been assisting with the implementation of a consulting project to improve the country’s investment climate under the EU4Business initiative. One of the project goals is to streamline administrative procedures and move them to electronic format. This should make it possible to reduce the number of actual visits companies must make to government agencies to a minimum — which is especially topical with Covid-19 still raging.
To complete this process, the project has helped Belarus develop measures that came into effect in 2021:
- On June 25, Decree #240 “On Administrative Procedures in Entrepreneurship” was issued to instruct the government to reduce the administrative burden on business by gradually streamlining procedures and converting them to electronic format. To date, only 50 of some 800 procedures are available online in Belarus.
- In October, an online register of administrative procedures was launched in Belarus. It provides businesses with information about all available administrative procedures. Those include legal and documentary requirements, document templates, costs and terms, sample business cases, and news for start-ups.
- In November, the Government established a specialized Agency for Servicing and Reengineering under the Bank for Development in Belarus to reduce the administrative burden on business. Earlier, the IFC had recommended setting up such an agency based on international experience.
- In December, the Government approved an electronic register of administrative procedures as the official source of business information and provided it with budget financing. The introduction of electronic administrative procedures for business is in the pipeline.
The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, invested $22 billion into the private sector worldwide as part of its mandate in the 2020 fiscal year. Since 1992, the IFC has helped to implement more than 60 projects in the Belarusian private sector, with the total scope of investment exceeding $900 million. The IFC has helped attract foreign investment to Belarus, generate new jobs, open new markets, and improve living standards for ordinary Belarusians.