The world has recently witnessed yet another manifesto declaring the Slovakian government´s will to improve the business environment. This is not to say that previous governments lacked good will. Quite the contrary, they were short of a systematic approach, the lack of which generally results in competent policy not making it beyond the preliminary papers. Unfortunately, traces of a systematic approach are nowhere to be found in the newest government manifesto either. Consequently, a potential success-story for the government in the shape of improving the business environment depends on its will to go above and beyond its manifesto. It should focus on accomplishing two tasks in the upcoming time frame.
From a short-term perspective, it is essential to adopt as quickly as possible all propositions concerning the elimination of unnecessary and ill-considered barriers currently in the way of doing business. I have to reiterate here that this should apply to all proposals and not merely to ideas emanating from coalition parties. Inputs from the broadest spectre of business and employers organisations, NGOs, the political opposition and the lay public as such should all be taken into account.
The Entrepreneurs Association of Slovakia has already submitted a document to the Minister of Economy which includes 40 bureaucratic absurdities that were previously identified by both entrepreneurs and the lay public under the patronage of the Bureaucratic Nonsense of the Year project. This document also contains detailed motions to legislatively redress the aforementioned 40 redundant barriers unduly obstructing business.
In the long-term, a system periodically examining the current legislation should be put in place, including the subsequent elimination of identified unnecessary obstructions as well as the prevention of adopting new impediments or redundant hurdles in the future. With regards to these realms, it is vital to praise two very beneficial initiatives endorsed just recently. The first one concerns the adoption of the modified Unified Methodology for the Adoption of Legislature which generated greater space for passing propositions of entrepreneur and employer organisations voiced during the legislative procedure. The other laudable initiative is the establishment of the Centre for Better Regulation in the Slovak Business Agency, which is intended to create analytical capacities focusing on Business Impact Assessment – i.e. evaluating the impact of adopted legislation on the business environment. These processes have to be advanced and extended, however there is still much more to be done.
The ample majority of other steps crucial in the process of creating a system of better regulation in Slovakia is enshrined in the 12 Recommendations of the OECD for Better Regulation from 2012. The government should carefully and explicitly put these principles into practice, including the formulation of quantitative and determinable objectives, the establishment of unambiguous and clear-cut responsibility for their completion, which would also incorporate the higher territorial (self-governing) units, cities, towns, and villages, together with a feedback system ensuring the observance of the fulfilment of governmental intent and policy proposals with regards to the elevation of financial and administrative burdens still obstructing business.
A genuine improvement of our business environment is as much contingent on the government´s plausible intentions as on a practical and effective system of their implementation.
Translated by Edward Szekeres