Kiosk owners in the Minsk region are urging entrepreneurs in other regions to join forces with them in their effort to have a ban on beer sales through the retail outlets lifted.
On August 17, the Minsk Regional Executive Committee banned beer sales through private vendors’ kiosks. Several months ago, similar bans were imposed in the Brest and Homyel regions.
The matter was under discussion at a round-table conference attended by small business owners and brewery executives in Minsk on August 19.
The region’s kiosk owners plan to petition Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly to abolish the controversial bans or ask the Constitutional Court to examine their legality.
Speaking at the conference, entrepreneurs accused the authorities of using the need to tackle the country’s hard-drinking culture as a pretext to impose the ban on kiosks and give large retail chains a bigger market share.
Condemning the bans as a "blow to small businesses," they warned of ensuing job cuts and a fall in tax revenues.
A businessman from Maladzyechna said that the beer sales ban would cut tax revenues by 400 million rubels and force kiosk owners to slash 300 jobs in the city and the Maladzyechna district.
Retail trade in Maladzyechna fell by 34 percent in three days and in the Slutsk district by up to 40 percent in two days, kiosk owner Uladzimir Makey said. [