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IFC Study Tour Helps Belarusian State Officials Learn about SME Inspections in Sweden


In Moscow:
Ilya Sverdlov

Phone: +7-495-411-7555

E-mail:
ISverdlov@ifc.org

In Minsk:

Nadezhda Sinelnik

E-mail:
nsinelnik@ifc.org


Minsk, 18 December, 2007—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in cooperation with the Swedish Institute for Public Administration last week organized a study tour to Sweden for nine Belarusian state officials. The tour was designed to familiarize inspectors and policymakers with Sweden’s small and medium enterprise inspections systems and procedures, particularly the use of checklists and risk management systems. This will help them implement similar processes in Belarus.

Representatives from the Mogilev Executive Committee, the Committee of State Control, and the Ministry of Emergency, Labor, Fire, and Sanitary Inspections participated in the tour. They visited the Stockholm County Administrative Board, the Swedish Tax Authority, the Södertörn Fire and Rescue Service, the Swedish Work Environment Authority, and the Stockholm Municipal Foodstuff and Restaurant Inspection.

Victor Krasovsky, Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee of the Mogilev Region’s Executive Committee, said, “The information that we obtained about control activities and agencies in Sweden will help us implement a project, with IFC’s help, to reform the control and supervision of SMEs. This will also help improve the business environment and promote SME development.”

Ruslan Mehdiyev, IFC Policy Adviser in Belarus, said, “The Swedish inspection system differs significantly from a typical post-Soviet system. Sweden’s inspectorates are customer-focused, always helping businesses improve through advice and guidance, and using fines only as a last resort. As Belarusian regulators consider Sweden to be one of the best examples of a socially oriented market economy, we are confident that they will effectively apply the Swedish practices in lowering regulatory costs for businesses in Belarus.”

The study tour is part of the IFC Belarus Business Enabling Environment project, which is partly financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.  The project aims to increase SME employment, streamline regulations, improve legislation for state control and supervision, and make the private sector more attractive for investors.

The project builds on previous cooperation between IFC and the Mogilev Executive Committee, which helped simplify the permits issuance system and raise awareness of the need for reform to a national level. As a result, the Belarusian government invited IFC to participate in a working group to facilitate the reforms process.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Sida

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency is a government agency that reports to Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for most of the country’s contributions to international development work, with the goal of improving the standard of living for poor people and eradicating poverty.