Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Business associations protest planned 30-percent tax hike for sole entrepreneurs

Business associations have petitioned the Minsk city government to drop its plans to raise by 30 percent the so-called "single tax" for sole entrepreneurs, Uladzimir Karahin, leader of the Minsk Capital Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, told reporters on Friday.

The tax is a fixed amount that sole entrepreneurs pay regardless of their proceeds.

Mr. Karahin stressed that the move would run counter to Alyaksandr Lukashenka's Directive No. 4, which orders a steady reduction in the tax burden on private business.

The tax hike will hit hard sole entrepreneurs, who are still struggling to cope with the aftermath of last year's sharp devaluation of the Belarusian rubel, a drop in customers' purchasing power and a rise in utility bills for businesses, Mr. Karahin warned.

Business associations believe that the tax increase could force many business owners to shut up shop, which in its turn would harm the city's economy and budget, Mr. Karahin said.

The Minsk regional authorities also plan to raise the "single tax" by 30 percent. The tax is expected to be increased by 22 percent on average in the Vitsyebsk region.