The second package to reduce the administrative burden on business in Slovakia has recently been approved. The first one was approved by the Parliament back in July 2020. It contained 115 measures. Back then, Ministry of Economy invited the public to send in further suggestions.
This was the start of a mini-history of the second package, the so-called “Hundred measures – 2”. Let us illustrate the enormous effort that was needed to rid Slovak businesses of further unnecessary and often annoying regulations.
Briefly, the chronology of the second package can be expressed in the following numerical series: 2,400 – 469 – 207 – 198. This is the number of measures the Ministry of Economy worked on between July 2020 and February 2022.
2,400 was the total number of all the suggestions they collected in the summer of 2020; 469 was the reduced number of suggestions that they thought were good enough to announce to the public at the end of October 2020, which they were entering into negotiations with other ministries on these suggestions.
After months of negotiations, the Ministry of Economy found consensus on 207 measures, which were to be commented on in September 2021. After that, the ministry was left with 198 suggestions in the second package, which were approved by the government in early February 2022.
It only takes a cursory glance at some of the measures to see that this was a joint effort across ministries. For example, in the area of material competence of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic, they will allow the sale of non-food goods after their expiry date or reduce the administrative burden related to the mandatory publication of price proposals by regulated entities.
The Ministry of Finance will enable electronic archiving of accounting records or the simplification of the preparation of financial statements in accordance with the IFRS international accounting standards.
The Ministry of Health will abolish the obligation of occupational health services for one-person companies whose only employee is the managing director or the obligation to comply with the prescribed frequency of cleaning windows at workplaces.
The Ministry of Investment, Regional Development, and Informatization will introduce the possibility for documents from the electronic mailbox to be usable for legal transactions without additional administration.
The Statistical Office will reduce the frequency of submission of some statistical returns from one to three years and abolish quarterly surveys for others.
Even the Ministry of Culture will join hands with the other departments and abolish the obligation for the payer to report the second electricity consumption point to the Slovak national television.
Frederic Bastiat’s observation that it is important to be aware not only of ‘what is seen’ but also of ‘what is not seen’ is also valid in this case. What is seen are, in particular, media-monitored political disputes in Slovakia.
Unfortunately, what is not seen is that the normal functioning of the government also runs in their background. It is not just about disputes and the inability to agree. It is also, for example, about the dozens of people who, in this case, in twelve ministries and five offices and agencies, over 17 months, went through the submissions we prepared from entrepreneurs in detail, and, together with our package team, sought their final legislative form.
In doing so, the Ministry of Economy sent a positive signal to hard-pressed entrepreneurs that they are serious about improving the business environment. And, at the same time, the ministry reminded them that the list of important reforms does not end with the pension reform, the tax reform, and fiscal responsibility.
Improving the business environment clearly belongs on that list, and that is why it will remain the alpha and omega of our future efforts.