Authorities increase social spending ahead of 2015 presidential campaign
President Lukashenko has criticized the Health Ministry for adopting a decision concerning the new drug prescription rules and reminded once again that by late 2015, half of all medicines sold in pharmacies should be manufactured in Belarus. In addition, the government will increase spending on healthcare (and education) in 2015 - 16.6% more has been budgeted on healthcare and 16.8% more on education (compared with 2014). Wide response and public dissatisfaction with the quality of healthcare services, as well as socio-political initiatives on the national level (’People’s Referendum’) and in the regions aiming to draw attention to the state’s social policy reform, have prompted the authorities to revise their approach and increase funding in some spheres. However, after the presidential campaign the government might continue reducing social guarantees to the population, with the most significant changes coming in the first years after the election.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.