Moratorium vs. the law?
18/08/2003, Gulmira Kenjegalieva
Certain businessmen perceived the moratorium on inspections of small business subjects as an abolition of law and permissiveness to do whatever they please.
Knowing that no state authority has a right to check them, in some regions businessmen went really arbitrary.
It is the eighth month that the businessmen feel so good, nobody disturbs or controls them, nobody shows their mistakes to them (at least so it must to be).
Everything can be done, whatever they please, promote themselves and their business, receive profits and get richer. Moreover the state providing the relief for them, hoped that the general condition of the country would improve from that. Taxes would flow to the budget and jobs would appear. But actually an analysis of economic figures and time showed in Uralsk for instance that there was no increase in new jobs, or in payments into the budget. There have not been any significant growth of production either.
The main part of the functioning small business subjects continues its purchase and sales activities. According to the Council of businessmen, today 43.4% out of the total number of juridical persons and 69.6% of individual businessmen are involved exactly into these activities. Everybody is still hanging around the central market.
Nobody is in a hurry to deal with production, it’s too difficult and costly, as businessmen say, moreover, a market should be found for it. In total 6% of Uralsk businessmen are involved in the production and processing. Although it would seem that the state allocates money to support and credit exactly this area. The head of state during his visit to West Kazakhstan oblast warned peasants that if they wouldn’t "get involved in the processing, the improvement of quality, we will lose when we join the WTO". But West Kazakhstani peasants do not seem to be preoccupied about it. Justifying themselves they only complained about problems with sales of their product.
However, in Uralsk businessmen rush to build up their own fuel filling stations, offices, gambling centres, everything from which easy money can be gained. Moreover, they build them wherever they please. In the floodlands of Ural and Chagan fuel filling stations are built, clearly, the oil product waste will flow to the rivers. The controlling authorities complain that they don’t have a right to inspect them and to take measures and therefore they remain doomed to watch from outside how the norms of the law are being broken. The town akimat that has a final word when the land for construction is being defined also shrugs its shoulders, like, businessmen asked and we gave it to them. And they forget that it’s a threat for people and for the ecology. The controlling authorities also cannot understand why the facilities are built from already used bricks. According to sanitary and other norms, it shouldn’t be so.
Secondary materials should pass expertise and lab tests. Another example, in Uralsk close to two schools, a kindergarten and a house of child, located at a distance of 100-50 meters from each other four filling stations operate. Children are very uncomfortable from any point of view. But the akimat representatives say that the law does not forbid to build up a filling station close to a kindergarten and neither they impede the general municipal plan. So, it appears that the children must bear and forbear.
Last week a widespread action “An official and a businessmen” was taking place in West Kazakhstan with participation of general prosecutor office and presidential machinery. It was organised by the oblast prosecutor office. The action is not new, it has already become traditional and it is targeted at a support and protection of businessmen from authority abuses and a constructive dialogue between them. But as many years of practice show there is no constructive dialogue. As they say everyone pursues his own line. The officials during the action report on violations on the part of the businessmen, the latter are afraid to utter a word to not make them rage. And therefore the businessmen do not wish to participate in the action. The officials will not resolve their multiple problems anyway, but they can start hating you, if you happen to complain to the prosecutor.
Gani Iskaliyev, director of the department of small business support of WKO observes that the relations between businessmen and state authorities are constructed on the following principle: a strong one will always have a weak one guilty. It is related with the fact that the businessmen do not have any rights in reality, they can be returned to their "own place" at any moment. During the action the businessmen were interested whether the centre of legal statistics was checking how much the instructions for the inspection of small business subjects by controlling authorities were well-founded. The prosecutor office believes that the registration itself is the control, although actually the legality of instruction is not checked because of gaps in the law. Since the beginning of the year only in WKO the prosecutor’s measures abolished 43 illegitimate legal decrees, adopted by local executive and representative authorities.
33 officials were prosecuted. State authorities, especially akimats of all levels, kept violating the moratorium during its whole term. Using their advantages of an executive authority, akims made the businessmen grant aid to state authorities, took the land away from some peasants to give it to other ones. As a rule such decisions had some personal interests of the akims in them.
In general the businessmen perceive the moratorium positively, which is testified by an increase of the number of registered small business subjects during the ban on inspections. But some of them operate without a registration in the tax authority, naturally without making payments into the budget. A lot of them evade paying taxes. And some conceal the number of workers, again in order to avoid taxes. The tax committee with regard to the above-mentioned moratorium can only watch it all without doing anything.
IN general there will be subjects to talk about by the end of the moratorium term. The Council of Uralsk Businessmen in its appeal to local businessmen observes that it seems that "the small business representatives abstain from a constructive dialogue with the president, which creates certain problems for a further development and functioning of the small business". The president at the forum of businessmen outlined concrete tasks and proposed to gather and discuss results after nine months. And if there are significant results it would be possible to proceed further.
Representatives of the presidential machinery during the action "An official and a businessman" in Uralsk were interested if it was worthwhile to extend the moratorium. Heads of controlling authorities observed that once the number of businessmen grew it was of course good. But there were also enough of offenders of the law among the businessmen who had interpreted the law in their own interests as well as among the state authorities, who were itching to resolve their own problems at the expense of the businessmen.