- I am very glad that the Economic Forum took place this year, because every year, as organizers, we ask ourselves why we are meeting. And this year in particular shows the scale of the problems facing the Polish and world economy and Poland's foreign policy, especially taking into account the situation in Belarus. The 1st Forum is the only place where it can be discussed on such a scale - said Bogusław Chrabota, Editor-in-Chief of Rzeczpospolita, opening the "Breakfast with Rzeczpospolita" during the Economic Forum, which traditionally takes place in Krynica, and this year it came to Karpacz.

Equal to taxes

This year, the special guest of our event was Tadeusz Kościński, Minister of Finance, who was initially asked to comment on the plan to impose a double tax on limited partnerships from January, about which we informed on Wednesday.

- The point is that taxes should be equal for everyone. I see no reason for the fact that when there is a limited liability company, you pay tax, and when there is a limited partnership, you avoid paying the tax through financial engineering, said the Minister. He emphasized that the aim of the planned solution is to level the market opportunities, because, as he said, it is unacceptable that some companies run their business and pay taxes honestly, while others try to avoid it by creating various structures.

According to the Minister, the reluctance to pay taxes comes from the previous era, when we were not eager to give money to a country with which we did not identify. After the changes, situation become completely opposite and now taxes are used to finance investments that benefit all of us. The Minister said that he was considering marking various investments financed from the budget thanks to taxes - e.g. road construction, hospitals or schools - like investments co-financed with EU funds, where such information is always displayed.

He added that public education is needed in this regard, as people are not always aware of what is happening with the tax money. It is similar with our daily expenses. Because, as he said, when we buy Polish products, we support domestic businesses that pay taxes in Poland. Thanks to this, the budget can finance investments in the country.

The voice of business

Business representatives present at the breakfast pointed to the need to simplify taxes, to which the Minister reminded that from January the so-called Estonian CIT will be introduced. He emphasized that he listened very carefully to the voice of entrepreneurs, but noted that it was necessary to act prudently in order not to open the gate to abuses when simplifying regulations. He also pointed out that today the Internet is full of advertisements from companies encouraging tax optimization as well as avoiding paying them.

Entrepreneurs also appealed for greater openness of the government to new technological solutions. They also talked about their observations and postulates. Michał Nowaczyk, a Member of the Board of Lidl Polska, asked about the trade tax. He indicated that in its current shape, organizations that run their activities based on many stores, each of which, however, are a separate business, will avoid paying it. He referred to the example of non-trading Sundays, when the stores of some retail chains are open. Włodzimierz Wlaźlak, president of Lidl, drew attention to the equality of entities in paying taxes mentioned by the Minister. - We mean equal rules for everyone. We are not talking about small family stores in this context. Our point is that large networks such as us should have one record - he pointed out.

The Minister emphasized that the trade tax was introduced in 2016, and then only suspended due to the intervention of the European Commission. However, Poland has got its way, and therefore the Ministry upholds the plan to re-introduce the tax from 2021. However, he added that his Ministry will be very closely monitoring the situation and will analyse the operation of the tax. But he is also waiting for comments from business.

The Minister declined to answer Bogusław Chrabota's question about the consideration of lifting or loosening the Sunday trade ban in the current economic situation, postulated by business and the media, saying that these are political decisions, and the Ministry of Finance only has to find money to implement the government's program and investments central.

Support for innovation

Paweł Elbanowski, Member of the Management Board and Operational Director of StethoMe, on the example of the solution offered by his company - an electronic wireless stethoscope intended for a patient for home diagnostics of the respiratory system and the heart - indicated the possibilities of significantly increasing efficiency in many areas.

He cited, for example, patients where, according to estimates, 80 percent. visits to doctors is unnecessary, because they then find that the patient is okay. And in this context, he pointed to the advantages of telemedicine. But, in his opinion, similar solutions, based on new technologies and remote contact, could also be implemented in state administration. There, still many activities are performed manually by officials and could be automated.

Robert Fintak, president of Terra Hexen in Łódź, pointed to the great need to promote innovative solutions offered by Polish startups. Very often they have great solutions, they use, for example, state funds to develop them, for example from the support of the National Centre for Research and Development, but they cannot afford later promotion at large fairs, exhibitions and conferences, i.e. where they could reach new customers. In his opinion, help in promoting innovative solutions will also support the effective use of the money invested in them.

Our breakfasts during the Forum are an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet with the most important decision-makers. These are forums for exchanging views, but also for reporting comments by business. In previous years, our guests were, among others in 2019, the then Minister of Investment and Development, Jerzy Kwieciński, or in 2015, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Janusz Piechociński.