SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

BAT

FOR the rest of the world, one Batman is enough. In Slovakia, there is an entire legion working under the sign of THE BAT. And just like Bruce Wayne, the Bratislava Heating Company (BAT) needs to invest to ensure its cover and enhance its superpowers. That explains the thousands of euros paid out to numerous plastic surgeons and beauty parlours. And the €15 million for accounting and HR software used by 80 employees, although the company now denies the information published by the Sme daily and claims that the software cost only €12 million and is used by almost all of its 350 workers. Given the fact that most of the staff are manual workers and repairmen, you really have to be impressed by the high level of SAP literacy at the institution.

FOR the rest of the world, one Batman is enough. In Slovakia, there is an entire legion working under the sign of THE BAT. And just like Bruce Wayne, the Bratislava Heating Company (BAT) needs to invest to ensure its cover and enhance its superpowers. That explains the thousands of euros paid out to numerous plastic surgeons and beauty parlours. And the €15 million for accounting and HR software used by 80 employees, although the company now denies the information published by the Sme daily and claims that the software cost only €12 million and is used by almost all of its 350 workers. Given the fact that most of the staff are manual workers and repairmen, you really have to be impressed by the high level of SAP literacy at the institution.

Unfortunately, there are two major differences between the Gotham City industrialist and the Bratislava city heating firm. Firstly, the billionaire has tons of cash to spend. And secondly, all of it is his own. The BAT is just one of many examples of how state-run organisations are managed. Let’s recap some of the news from just this week: A man until recently suspected of tax fraud now runs a local tax office. A village has invested €400,000 in a street sweeper, which will operate on 14 kilometres, or 8 miles, of roads. The former head of the Financial Administration is being charged for buying malfunctioning software worth €8 million. He says it would have worked had his successors finished its implementation. Millions are lost in either case. And the list could go on.

Corruption, cronyism, maladministration, wasteful spending and little regard for the law are some of the biggest problems facing the country today. When you look at how widespread they are, and how many people are involved both on the government and the business side, even the Joker and the Penguin would be impressed. What to do about it? A question worthy of the Riddler. The ruling Smer party claims it wants to increase transparency and impose zero-tolerance. Sadly, the government is full of Two-Faces.

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