Changes will result in administrative paralysis and the inability to make decisions, it is better to leave everything as it is and hope that entrepreneurs will somehow cope with it – such were the conclusions met by most participants in the consultation conference of the Economic Activity Act.
The consultation conference for the draft of an act known as the “constitution for entrepreneurs” which was held on February 9-10th at the Ministry of Economy, was a very unpleasant experience. The officials gathered in the ministry’s conference hall conducted a frontal attack on key solutions included in the draft. They aimed their guns at all simplifications, but the main objects of target practice were the presupposition of entrepreneurs’ innocence and the in dubio pro tributario principle (which states that all interpretative ambiguities should be resolved in favour of entrepreneurs). The “what is not forbidden by law is allowed” principle, which mirrors the legalist principle, allowing only actions based on and within the scope of legal norms – the very basis of the functioning of administration and officials – was met with no less opposition.
According to officials, the introduction of these changes will render them practically unable to make decisions. Why? That they could not explain convincingly, resorting to more and more specific cases form their areas of responsibility. The criticism culminated in one official’s statement that “entrepreneurs will somehow cope with it”. Of course they will. However, it is in everyone’s interest to create a situation where they do not have to “cope”, but rather simply go about their business. Simply meaning quickly, without officials asking for more and more documents, extending or ignoring deadlines, but first and foremost without being treated like potential criminals. Prime Minister Kopacz mentioned that in her exposé – law was to be created with the 99% of abiding citizens, including entrepreneurs, in mind. Meanwhile, officials presented different approach which boiled down to negating suggested changes and in the best case to diluting them through the introduction of many exceptions. The list of exceptions and immunities to the Economic Activity Act is already overwhelmingly long and the draft has not even taken the form of specific regulations yet. One can only hope that the Ministry dos not buckle under all this pressure and will only consider constructive objection and comments – of which there was no shortage. However. Determination will be required, as representatives of other ministries and public institutions are strongly in favour of the status quo.
Piotr Wołejko, expert of Employers of Poland