Entrepreneurs in Slovakia are rather critical in their evaluation of the business environment during the first three months of 2017, though not as much as they were in the past.
The current figure of the Business Environment Index is 50.7 points, which is 1.81 percent less than the previous evaluation, according to the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS).
The index was impacted mostly by the better evaluation of some items that have been perceived negatively in the long term in previous reports.
On the other hand, quality and availability of production inputs and labour force received the worst evaluation ever. It received an even worse ranking than was given for the perception of corruption and economic criminality.
“It signals the serious lack of workforce which the entrepreneurs have been warning about for some time,” the PAS wrote in its press release.
Law enforceability and corruption still a problem
The most negative evaluation was traditionally given to law enforceability and the judiciary. One of the reasons for this was the information that Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, has not submitted a single charge in any of the 61 cases he has supervised during eight years in his post.
The entrepreneurs also mentioned the disputes between the Supreme Court President, Daniela Švecová and her predecessor Štefan Harabin and the cases linked to the controversial businessman Ladislav Bašternák, suspected of tax fraud.
In annual comparison, Slovakia dropped in the ranking of corruption perception, to which Prime Minister Robert Fico responded by announcing a more intensive fight against corruption.
“When taking the whole context into consideration, however, his statements don’t sound trustworthy and may give the impression that the rules don’t apply equally to everybody,” the PAS wrote in the press release.
The distrust of citizens is only supported by the statements of former police officers who are talking about pressures marring their work, as well as Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák staying in his post despite various suspicions.
As for the effectiveness of the state’s management and the access to state aid, the entrepreneurs criticised the fact that though the amount the state collects via taxes is increasing every year, the country still reports a deficit and the government even plans to loosen the debt brake.
Other negatively perceived areas include red tape and procrastination in offices, the functionality of the political system, economic criminality, corruption in offices, quality and availability of production input and workforce, employment legislation, as well as the clarity, usability and stability of laws.
On the other hand, they gave a positive evaluation to bankruptcy and distrainment legislation, functionality of state institutions and regulation of cross-border trade. Areas like price stability, stability and predictability of the euro exchange rate and the access to financial sources reported a more significant increase in evaluation as well, the PAS claimed.