The Brest authorities are refusing to remove their restriction on retail sales of beer despite protests from owners of vending kiosks.
By a February 27, 2009 directive, the Brest Regional Executive Committee banned vendors’ kiosks and other retail units with a trade space of fewer than 25 square meters located at public transport stops from selling beer and other beverages with a low alcohol content. The ban took effect on May 5.
Local vendors are protesting the decision, expressing fears that it would ruin their business. On Tuesday, owners of retail kiosks met with Syarhey Ashmyantsaw, chairman of the Brest Regional Soviet, to highlight their woes.
Mr. Ashmyantsaw claimed that the restriction was legitimate, denying that it would affect the vendors’ profits, Alyaksandr Kuzub, a local activist of the Perspektyva small business association, told BelaPAN. "But each of us can say now that the first week since the new conditions took effect is over that our profits have fallen two or threefold", he said. "The retail units will be unprofitable this May".
"It is unrealistic to boost our profitability by expanding the product range, as Ashmyantsaw recommended", he noted. "We have been trading for many years and we know what goods generate profits". "The talk that took place at the regional soviet today showed once again that the local authorities turned their back to small businesses", Perspektyva leader Anatol Shumchanka commented to BelaPAN.
Perspektyva is set to appeal to the House of Representatives and the Council of Ministers over the ban, he added.