A Paper Tiger

Two weeks ago, the government approved a report on the business environment. Last year Entrepreneurs Association of Slovakia, together with the Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Slovakia and the Hospodarksy Noviny (newspaper), was a sponsor of a project which was looking for the biggest bureaucratic nonsense of the year. How are these two things related? The document approved by the government includes 24 proposals to reduce the administrative burden. The Project looking for bureaucratic nonsenses generated “Top 10,” ranking the ones that interest not only entrepreneurs, but also readers of the newspaper as well as the general public. Out of the top ten, seven are governmental resolutions and proposals to deal with problems. In this regard, the approved document should be welcomed, while any effort to improve the business environment in Slovakia must be supported. Here, however, the good news ends.

The fate of this document envisaged how difficult it is within the government and various ministries to pursue ideas to improve business conditions. The Ministry of Economy initially submitted a document with 44 proposals. Up to 20 of these were instructions for the different ministries. And many which stayed there had been reformulated into a useless form. The resolutions, which were to cancel some meaningless obligations this year, as a matter of fact, turned into resolutions that bind almost nothing, while time limit of implementation is set to the end of 2014, or even the end of 2015. Thus, the government has produced another paper tiger, which does not hurt, but neither helps anyone or anything.

This is evidence that the improvement of the business environment, frequently declared as one of the objectives of the government, has not yet become priority. And over time, we can say that the improvement of business conditions has become an issue of being homeless. The Ministry of Economy has not got any sufficient capacity or political weight, while other ministries tremendously hurt the business environment. Unfortunately, these measures harm not only entrepreneurs, but also people with lack of suitable employment opportunities as a consequence of worsening of the business environment.

Jan Oravec