The “Responsible growth plan” adopted by the Council of Ministers appropriately identifies the shortcoming of the state resulting in the loss of pace of Polish economy. The response will involve deep changes, including those long advocated by Employers of Poland – the new Economic Activity Act and a thorough shift in the philosophy of organizing public tenders.
The plan rightly points out the state’s institutional weakness manifesting itself in the number of institution and unclear division of competences. Such a situation means that responsibility for particular actions and, in turn, their effects, is blurred. This is further exacerbated by the heritage of the former political system: a lack of coordination between ministries and offices they supervise. A weak and inefficient state is not equipped to face the challenges of XXI century – these shortcomings call for urgent intervention and courageous decisions. The key importance of clearly delineating the competences of ministries, particularly the Ministry of Development, which is supposed to act as a coordinator, cannot be stressed enough.
Integrating existing development institutions (KUKE S.A, BGK, The Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, The Industrial Development Agency, PIR S.A., The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development) into one strong entity focused on export promotion – facilitated by economic diplomacy – and investment promotion will also be very important.
The state and its institutions have to adopt a holistic approach, rather than focus on restricted areas of competence of particular organs.
Plans in the field of entrepreneurship are certainly praiseworthy. Today, Polish companies, most of them micro, small and medium, are overwhelmed with the burdens of administrative obligations and exposed to strong pressure on the part of the tax authorities. At the same time, the same authorities cannot cope with the swelling problem of VAT return extortion, tax carousels or illegal competition and the growing grey market.
A completely new approach to entrepreneurship is needed and the starting point should be – this is where the plan converges with the postulates of Employers of Poland – a new Economic Activity Act. It should be based on the presumption of entrepreneurs’ honesty, with a clear interpretation provided for those who will apply it. Apart from that, deregulation and de-bureaucratization of the economy is necessary – the plan involves far reaching actions in this regard, including a review of regulated activities. The government will also address the issue of administrative fines, an increasingly pressing problem, as their practical application significantly diverges from initial intentions.
The document also includes an outline of a deep reform of the public procurement system. We agree with minister Morawiecki’s assessment and his support for a system promoting intelligent, innovative solutions, taking the social clauses and the stability of employment into consideration. Public procurements are an ideal tool for shaping trends and establishing the direction of development. Thus far, low prices and saving were promoted, which led to the construction of thousands of kilometers of new roads, but had a detrimental impact on the construction sector and forced employees to work on contracts other than contracts of employment. This has to change – innovative, environment-friendly and socially responsible – particularly in terms of the form of employment – projects should be prioritized. The diagnosis presented in the plan includes an increase in wages – public procurements are an issue were the government has a lot to achieve.
State support for re-industrialization is a pivotal element of the plan. The document emphasizes the fact that industry creates cooperation chains, facilitating innovation and the creation of well-paid jobs. Support has to be directed to sectors with the biggest growth potential. This requires cooperation with employers’ organizations and entrepreneurs themselves – the government recognizes this in the plan.
To conclude, we have to express our appreciation for the remarks on the need for improving the quality of legislation – a very problematic issue. There are far too many regulations, they are also amended too frequently and as a result are often incoherent – sometimes even mutually exclusive. One should expect the government – the main initiator of legislation in our political system – undertakes urgent restorative action in the field of lawmaking. The plan emphasizes the need for improved quality of Regulation Effect Assessment and promoting public consultations. However, other areas of the lawmaking process also call for improvement. As social partners – members of the Social Dialog Council – we are ready to support the government in a systemic improvement of the legislation process.
Deputy PM Mateusz Morawiecki’s plan may only be fully assessed when more details are revealed. Previous development plans, also named after their creators, have failed precisely because of specifics – which is why we eagerly await them.
Employers of Poland