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Polish Businesses Hope for a More Business-Friendly Government

POLITICSPolish Businesses Hope for a More Business-Friendly Government

Unblocking funds from the KPO, restoring social dialogue and maintaining stability in regulatory changes, reverting to the previous method of calculating health contributions – this is just the start of the expectations of business owners for the government of the coalition parties, which is likely to be established next week. They believe that this administration will be more business-friendly than the PiS government. The entrepreneurs’ hopes were raised by the provisions of the coalition agreement concluded between the Civic Platform, Third Way, and Leftist parties. A significant part of the challenges involves improving the labor market situation and increasing the competitiveness and innovativeness of the national economy.

“Business owners’ moods and expectations have significantly improved due to the election results. This option, which will be ruling now, is decidedly more friendly to business owners,” says Jacek Goliszewski, president of Business Centre Club and chairman of the Economic Shadow Cabinet. According to him, the coalition agreement contains very good provisions about restoring social dialogue in the Social Dialogue Council between business organizations and trade unions, abolishing the effects of Polish Order by changing the health contribution for the entrepreneur and paying sickness contribution for the employee, vacatio legis for changes in tax law, at least half-yearly, and the topic of establishing a clear, coherent, transparent, and fair, mainly stable tax system.

According to the latest “Barometer of the Polish Labor Market” by Personnel Service, 35% of entrepreneurs fear a worsening situation in 2024, 29% hope that nothing will change, and only one in five is an optimist. The highest fear is associated with higher costs of doing business, inflation, and wage pressure. The survey was conducted at the beginning of October, before the elections. Despite fears, companies declared that they would more often employ than fire. More than every fourth company plans to recruit, and only every fifth plans to lay off. Also, every fourth plans to raise wages next year.

“We have problems in the labor market, because despite having very low unemployment rate, unfortunately, a quantitative gap has appeared. By 2025 we may lack approximately a million workers, so systemic actions are needed. A quality gap also appears, because our entrepreneurs tell us that they have no workforce in certain professions and certain specializations,” warns the president of BCC.

Regarding the labor market, entrepreneurs also appeal for a limitation of minimum wage increases, especially without differentiating it by regions. They also talk about the need for a discussion about comprehensive immigration, assimilation, and asylum policies so that they are coordinated with the needs of the economy.

“The next issue, extremely important for business owners, is the implementation or obtaining funds from KPO. A good step has been taken, 5 billion euros of advance payment will come to Poland, but there is more money. These funds would not only work pro-investment, but also anti-inflationary, they would strengthen the currency exchange rates and would be a significant impulse for the growth of GDP and companies’ investments,” Jacek Goliszewski emphasizes.

A survey conducted among companies by CBM Indicator at the request of Confederation Lewiatan shows that unlocking funds from KPO is what 70% of entrepreneurs expect from the new coalition party government. According to BCC experts, an audit should also be conducted of already pledged expenditures for KPO, due to the serious risk of their incompatibility with the declarations of the Polish government regarding the use of these funds. The security of funds from the cohesion fund is equally important for infrastructural investments, which were previously under threat.

The president of BCC lists new technologies based on artificial intelligence algorithms, automation, robotics, industry 5.0, ChatGPT, access, big data analysis, predictive analytics as crucial for competitiveness. Meanwhile, Poland is lagging behind other EU countries. In the 2023 European Innovation Rankings, our country, with results at the level of 62.8% of the EU average, ranked fourth from the bottom, outperforming only Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.

The BCC believes that promoting and supporting innovation and enterprise investment in new technologies by the government is essential for improving the competitiveness of Polish companies and the economy.

“If we want to strengthen competitiveness, it must also be a systemic solution, which involves information campaign about new technologies, advisory action for small and medium-sized enterprises, which cannot afford to sign a contract with consulting firms, and tax incentives for companies investing in new technologies. These incentives already exist in our economic cycle but businesses are not aware of them, they’re underused. This will increase competitiveness and the fact that our products and services will continue to be sellable in Europe. If we don’t make this technological leap, if our products are not energy and cost-efficient, we will not be able to sell them” assesses Jacek Goliszewski.

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