Warsaw, 3rd November 2020
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers calls for a stop
to the creeping lockdown of the economy
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers has consistently called for responsible and predictable actions to be undertaken by the government in terms of the measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus. The Union strongly emphasises that any and all activity of this nature must not result in further restrictions to running a business and considers the solutions adopted thus far to be excessively far-reaching.
Already today, entrepreneurs operating in industries subject to restrictions are threatened with bankruptcies on a mass scale, which would result in the loss of jobs by thousands of people. In the long run, the situation will deteriorate in industries related to them, and consequently in the entire economy. We strongly urge that closed industries be opened. Every subsequent day they are shut down makes it necessary to introduce significant aid instruments.
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers fails to find justification for further restrictions to the functioning of other areas of economic activity. There is no data that employees in the service and trade sectors showed a significant number of cases of infection, and thus that commercial and service points of sale were the source of coronavirus outbreaks or were also the place of infection for customers.
The Union calls for a roadmap of planned activities in the field of lifting industry restrictions and introducing possible restrictions on social life, based on predictable disease rates or on indices of healthcare efficiency. Both the society and entrepreneurs must have a clear and predictable picture of the upcoming weeks and months of the epidemic. Lack of such information will result in the reduction of economic risk taking, and as a result, in the inhibition of economic development, decrease in investment, and reduction of employment.
The actions undertaken by the government in the field of health protection must also be aimed at protecting the economy and jobs.
At the same time, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers is calling for a year-long moratorium on all kinds of new legal burdens and taxes that are being processed at the moment or have been adopted over the past year to ensure in these difficult times that the economy is predictable and stable. The current challenging period should be used for far-reaching systemic reforms, so as to create new favourable conditions for the development of the economy after the epidemic.
The government has not made thus far any efforts at all to implement systemic reforms in areas that have required addressing for years. Now, during the crisis, and in the years to come, hitherto deficits and the lack of bold reforms will become evident, for example, in the field of labour taxation, labour law, economic law, reduction and unification of VAT rates, increasing economic competitiveness, amendments to the social security system, or taking up demographic challenges. Meanwhile, the period of relative “unblocking” of the economy in the third quarter of this year was used for activities restricting the competitiveness of Polish businesses. These include plans to introduce or the introduction of the following: “sugar tax”, CIT on limited partnerships, “high five for animals” (an act including five objectives amending acts regulating animal welfare in Poland), restriction of competition on the pharmacy market or premiums on commission contracts. No actions have been taken to adapt Poland to new and upcoming social and economic challenges.
Bearing in mind all the above-mentioned considerations, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers appeals not only to refrain from the lockdown, but also to undertake actions of opposite character and unblock the closed sectors of the economy while maintaining strict sanitary regimes. If there is a real, data-driven need to introduce any restrictions on economic activity, the Union urges the government to present it in decision justifications in a clear and transparent manner. Moreover, the Union believes that 2021 will be the worst possible period for the introduction of new burdens, therefore we call for a moratorium of at least a twelve months on any new, unfavourable regulations for business.