Belarus has recently adopted a new law “On regulatory legal acts”, which aims to provide better public consultations and introduces regulatory impact analysis (RIA) for draft legal acts. The law is in line with OECD recommendations for policy reform to improve the business climate for SMEs.
More specifically, the law includes mechanisms aimed at increasing the participation of citizens and legal entities in the law-setting process, by establishing institutions for public discussion, for forecasting the consequences of the adoption of regulatory legal acts, and for legal monitoring. In practice, the organiser of a public discussion will be able to submit a draft legal act for discussion either to the Legal Forum of Belarus, through parliamentary hearings or through mass media. Information on the availability of public discussions is to be placed on the national legal internet portal, on the websites of the public discussion organisers, as well as on official websites of government bodies.
Moreover, a mandatory regulatory impact analysis for draft legal acts that touch upon entrepreneurial activity has been included as one of the main principles of the new law: RIA will help identify the provisions that establish redundant duties, prohibitions and restrictions as well as unreasonable expenses for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs.
This comes at a right time and follows the recommendations provided by the OECD in the roadmap for policy reform for Belarus presented in the SME Policy Index 2016, as a priority to strengthen the institutional, regulatory and operational environment for SMEs.
In this latest cycle of the Small Business Act (SBA) for Europe assessment, ad-hoc public-private consultations on draft legal acts and the lack of a regulatory impact assessment framework have been highlighted as shortcomings in the country’s regulatory environment.
The recent adoption of the law “On regulatory legal acts”, which will come into force in 2019, is an important positive step towards improving the overall business environment in Belarus and will be reflected in the upcoming 2018-2019 SBA assessment cycle, resulting in the SME Policy Index 2020.
The third cycle of SBA Assessment was launched in May by the OECD, in the framework of the EU-funded project ‘EU4Business: From Policies to Action’. The Small Business Act for Europe is an overarching framework for the EU policy on SMEs. It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and remove the remaining barriers to their development.