The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication has initiated the so called zero bureaucracy project, the aim of which is to decrease administrative burden of entrepreneurs. In relation to that, the Chamber has collected a number of proposals from entrepreneurs in recent weeks.
During the Chamber’s 90th anniversary reception at the Estonia Concert Hall on 14 November, 9 people who have contributed to the development of entrepreneurship in Estonia were awarded the Chamber’s medals of honour. Among them were the former Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Chairman of the Management Board of Molycorp Silmet David O'Brock and Director of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board Marek Helm. The medals of honour were awarded for already 17th time.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication has undertaken to lead the state’s zero bureaucracy project the aim of which is to decrease the administrative burden for entrepreneurs. The state expects that entrepreneurs themselves, through their representative organisations, would set out the problems they are facing in relation to reporting, data collection or performance of bureaucratic requirements arising from the law, and would submit their proposals for decreasing the administrative burden.
The Ministry of Social Affairs has sent a draft on amendments of the Alcohol Act and Advertising Act for review to the stakeholders. With the amendments sale of alcohol and contents of alcohol advertising will be restricted.
In November Estonia will be visited by a delegation from the Dalian region in China with the aim of introducing the business opportunities in the Dalian region to Estonian IT sector companies and establishing contacts with potential new cooperation partners.
On 10 September, the European Court of Justice made a decision in case No C-266/14 in which they found that the time, which is used by employees with no fixed place of work to travel from home to the first client and from the last client to their homes, must be included in working time.
The Board of the Chamber met at the end of September and discussed, among other issues, the report of the Estonian Research and Development Council The Network and Directions of Estonian Universities, Research Institutions and Institutions of Professional Higher Education.
The Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft Income Tax Amendment Act, the main aim of which is to transpose the requirements arising from the Parent Companies and Subsidiaries Directive (Council Directive 2011/96/EU). Furthermore, it aims to eliminate the difference in the treatment of resident natural persons and non-resident natural persons in calculating and carrying forward loss yielded upon disposal of securities.
The Chamber has sent its proposals regarding the draft Public Procurements Act to the Ministry of Finance. Among other things, we made a proposal to establish additional criteria for more efficient prevention of bidding below price. For example in case of public procurements for construction works, there could be a requirement that the salaries of the employees of the sub-contractor must be at least 70% of the average of the respective sector.
The Chamber of Commerce has made a proposal to the Ministry of the Environment and the Environmental Committee of the Riigikogu to exempt smaller companies from the new obligation to audit their packaging reports. The average cost of auditing is 800-2000 euros, thus it is a significant additional cost for smaller companies.. The Chamber found that so far there have been no analyses on if the gains from auditing is proportional with the increased administrative burden and costs of companies. Both the Minister of the Environment and Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Riigikogu agreed with the proposal of the Chamber.
From 1 July over 225 legal acts enter into force, but the majority of them have no significant impact on the activities of entrepreneurs. A positive example concerns the Taxation Act according to which the state has to notify of any changes in taxes at least six months in advance. From July, changes in the Commercial Code also enter into force, giving private limited companies better opportunities for organising their activities, relationships between shareholders as well as between investors. Other important changes involve construction and planning. Below you can find an overview of some of the legal acts that enter into force on 1 July.
Last week a business delegation organised by the Chamber accompanied the President of the Republic Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves during his official state visit to Germany. Estonian and German entrepreneurs said that applying new ideas in traditional industry gives businesses a great competitive advantage. This is where the two countries could successfully cooperate.
Recently, the Chamber made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to increase the tax-free rate of the daily allowance for assignments abroad. Although the cost of living has significantly increased, the tax-free rate of daily allowance has not changed for 14 years.
On Wednesday, 13 May 2015 a business delegation from Kenya will be visiting Estonia.
On that occasion, the Chamber of Commerce is organising a Business Seminar. The seminar will give an overview of the Kenyan economy and business climate, introduce the companies in the Kenyan delegation, after which it is possible to meet the representatives of the companies.
This Monday, 27 April, the Chairman of the Board of the Chamber Toomas Luman sent to the Government of the Republic the Chamber’s positions regarding scrapping the value added tax exemption for the accommodation sector as well as the planned increase of fuel excise duty. In addition to emphasising the critical importance of the impact of both planned changes, the Chamber proposed considering other sources for covering the budget hole, which arises from decreasing labour costs, which is important for employers. One alternative, which could be analysed, is the proposal to increase the general value added tax rate by 1 percent, which in 2016 would increase the state budget revenues by an estimated 85-100 million euros. This could be one concrete alternative for the cover sources currently on the table, the influence of which on business, and most importantly on the exporting sectors would be lower.
At the general meeting held on 22 April 2015, the members of the Chamber approved the 2014 annual report and elected the new Board, which consists of 15 members. The new Board will meet for the first time at the beginning of May.
Toomas Luman, Chairman of the Board of Nordic Contractors AS was elected the Chairman of the Board with 207 out of 214 votes in favour.