President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko demanded that all government officials find employment for all of their non-working relatives, spouses and lovers. He said this at the meeting on topical issues of the country's development, BelTA news agency reports.
"I want to be heard by those who are sitting here now and by others in the media later today. For now, I am addressing government officials and other important people in the country: please, find employment for your wives, husbands, lovers, relatives and close ones, for those who can and should work," Lukashenko said.
"If a wife or a mistress is sick, well, we will treat her. If they can work and should, they should be employed by April 1 at the latest," he added.
According to Lukashenko, it is no longer viable for people to simply pay the so-called tax on parasitism and continue to avoid work. "You might say yes, they will pay $200 or Br400 a year. But no; it is desirable that they are at work," he stressed.
The President noted that he does not want to mention the specific names of civil servants whose relatives do not work, and at the same time instructed the head of the Operations and Analysis Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus, Sergey Shpegun to oversee this issue personally.
"Look at the personnel register. Who has such a rich husband that she is sitting today at home, doing nothing, with a 20- to 22-year-old child and she hasn’t even reached the retirement age yet? You probably know some of them. I know too. But I'm not naming names for now," the head of state summed up.
The decree "On the Prevention of Social Dependence" establishes the duty of citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in the country, stateless persons who did not participate in the financing of public expenditures or participated in such financing for less than 183 calendar days or half a year, to pay a fee of 20 base values.
For non-payment or incomplete payment, a fine of 2 to 4 base values is imposed. One base value is Br23 or $12. Otherwise, an administrative arrest will be enforced, with the assignment of mandatory community service. Overall, the tax authorities sent about 470,000 notices to citizens on the payment of the tax.
The deadline for paying the tax expired on February 20, 2017. As of February 21, it had been paid by about 54,000 citizens.
The adoption of this decree ignited massive protests by the population of Belarus, causing unauthorized marches of "non-freeloaders" in some large cities in February and March.