The Council of Ministers will decide whether to adopt the draft law – Law on economic activity. This law is one of the priorities of the government of Ewa Kopacz. Law on economic activity is in line with the philosophy of law written for 99% of citizens, in this case entrepreneurs, who are honest and reliable. The Act includes key principles of running a business and guidelines for officials, whose inspections should be less disruptive to the current activities of enterprises.
Law on economic activity makes the relation between entrepreneurs and officials more equal, indicating clearly the subordinate role of the latter to the former. Businesses have to regain freedom of action, which the Act on freedom of economic activity – passed in 2004 – does not grant. The new law – Law on economic activity – will be an economic constitution and, at least theoretically, precede other acts on carrying out the business.
It should be stressed that there were bard battles fought over some provisions between the Ministry of Economy supported by employers' organizations, and other ministries and dozens of other public administration bodies. Were it not for the determination of the Ministry of Economy, Law on economic activity would probably not be created or would lose all its teeth in the process. Nobody wanted to be subject to restrictions relating to inspection of entrepreneurs. Various arguments were used: efficiency and effectiveness of control activities, the EU law. If lawmakers had yielded to pressures, the Law on economic activity would help officials, not the entrepreneurs and would in fact become a catalogue of immunities.
It is very important that the Law on economic activity contains a catalog of basic principles of establishing a business and of functioning of the administration such as: the principle of what is not prohibited by law is allowed, the rule that doubts about the content of provisions shall be interpreted in favour of entrepreneurs. Most of the principles contained in the catalogue at the beginning of the act are a repetition of other legislation, but it is done on purpose because the new law – even the best – may not function optimally because of bureaucratic obstruction. We must remember that very often common practice of the administration is more important than these provisions. Laws or regulations will not change this. Hence, work on the law of economic activity is not finished but is the beginning of efforts to improve how entrepreneurs are treated. We should emphasise the role the Council of Ministers, several ministries and employers' organizations played in the process.
Arkadiusz Pączka, Director of the Legislation Monitoring Centre, Employers of Poland