ZAGREB, March 9, 2018 – Croatian Employers Association (HUP) president Gordana Deranja said on Friday that politicians were always the most responsible for the failure to implement reforms and that the incumbent government now had the chance to do what the previous governments had failed to do.
Addressing a conference on ways regulations can be improved to create better business conditions, organised by the Economy Ministry, Deranja said that business people had been warning for years about problems they encountered – high taxes, high non-tax levies, legal insecurity, excessive red tape, constant changes of legislation and inefficient public administration.
Business people and employers in Croatia work most of the time for the state instead of for themselves and their employees, said Deranja, noting that their dissatisfaction was nothing new. “The governments come and go and all the bad things stay the same, and the consequences of ignoring our warnings are growing more serious,” said Deranja.
She added that no one should be happy with the fact that, in terms of the economy, Croatia was at the bottom of EU rankings just as one should not be surprised by the European Commission’s assessment that the bottom position was due to failure to carry out reforms.
“Even though the responsibility for not implementing reforms does not rest only with politicians, they nonetheless bear the most responsibility. The incumbent government is the least responsible, much more responsible are the previous both right and left governments, which did not change anything, not even at the time when the crisis was most serious and when all others but us made changes,” said Deranja.
She added that the incumbent government had the chance to do what its predecessors did not – change the situation and methods of work. “The reform package that will reduce the administrative burden is a good start that requires even more intensive work on removing regulations and taxes that excessively burden business operations. We hope that the government will focus on reforms this and in the following years, and the employers will support it in its reform efforts,” said Deranja.
Speaking of measures designed to reduce the administrative burden on business, Economy Minister Martina Dalić said that the government on Thursday adopted an action plan for 2018 which contained 98 measures whose implementation was aimed at reducing the cost of doing business for employers by 625.9 million kuna.
Dalić said her ministry had defined a system and methodology for measuring regulatory costs with the aim of their gradual reduction. It has been established that there are 570 different regulations that have an impact on businesses, containing 1,800 different administrative obligations. Last year, 200 regulations were analysed, with 600 different obligations, for which it was estimated that they cause the regulatory cost for the economy in the amount of about 5.1 billion kuna, Dalić said.
Dalić recalled that the government’s action plan was the second consecutive action plan as the implementation of the first one was being wrapped up. The first action plan was adopted at the start of 2017 and is expected to be fully implemented in a few months. The new action plan is designed to continue reducing the cost of red tape for businesses, said Dalić.
The action plan contains measures that include the cancellation of a number of registers from within the remit of tax and customs authorities, which will make business simpler and cheaper for more than 90,000 businesses. The number of permits in the tourism sector is being reduced as well, as are various exams for tourism workers, and there are plans to cancel tourism fees for the IT sector and other services that are not closely related to tourism, said Dalić.
A number of decisions and permits that so far were necessary in phytosanitary protection, aquaculture and freshwater fisheries will be cancelled. It has also been proposed to reduce a significant number of decisions and permits which land surveying businesses have to obtain in order to provide land surveying services, as well as to expand e-communication to include reports and applications to various government agencies.