Entrepreneurs Made Over 120 Proposals to Improve Business Environment
The Chamber conducted a questionnaire among its members in order to find out their biggest concerns in the current business environment. Entrepreneurs highlighted approximately 220 issues and made over 120 proposals to solve the problems. The most problems highlighted by entrepreneurs were in the tax environment.
While entrepreneurs saw tax-related issues as the most problematic, these issues were followed by excess bureaucracy and lack of labour force. Over-regulation, too quick and not thought-through amendment of laws as well as negative attitude towards entrepreneurship were considered to be important problems.
Taxes. The concerns of nearly a third of entrepreneurs are related to the tax environment. It was found that as a result of the lack of labour and fast-growing salaries, the labour costs are too high. Various fringe benefit taxes were also considered to be a problem as a result of which it is very expensive to motivate employees. Additionally, it was highlighted that the Estonian tax environment has become more complicated, which in turn hinders the competitiveness and as a result of constant tax amendments, the tax environment has become unstable.
In the opinion of the entrepreneurs, the state should ensure greater stability and foreseeability in the tax environment. Furthermore, a proposal was made to decrease labour taxes. Decreasing fuel excise duties and intended purpose use of money from the excise duty for funding road management is considered important. There was also a proposal to establish a concession excise duty rate for large consumers of gas.
Employment. The greatest problem in this area is lack of labour. As a result, entrepreneurs admitted that hiring aliens is too complicated and proposed to abolish a requirement that aliens should be paid a salary that is at least the average of Estonia. Furthermore, mostly smaller entrepreneurs found that the occupational health and safety requirements are too burdensome for companies. Additionally, they made a proposal to make the employment contract regulation more flexible, considering that nowadays more and more people are working in home offices at the time that is most suitable for them.
Public procurements. Entrepreneurs think that the biggest problem of the public procurements is the price-centred approach. Non-monetary criteria, such as quality of work should be more significant. At the same time, they highlighted that the problem is not always the public Procurement Act, but how the Act is applied. Furthermore, it was found that very often the public procurements are too detailed and because of that there is the impression that the offers of certain companies are given preference. This, however hinders competition and may cause corruption.
Environment. Entrepreneurs continue to be concerned about auditing packaging reports. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are not satisfied with waste management and therefore they found that handling waste should be organised better. Furthermore, it was noted that assessing environmental impacts takes a lot of time and assessing does not take economic and socio-economic aspects sufficiently into account. In conclusion it was found that the environmental sector has been over-regulated.
Real estate and construction sector. The main concerns of entrepreneurs are excess bureaucracy and time spent on processing permits. Entrepreneurs are also not satisfied with the amendments to the Building Code. It was found that due to the amendments, the Building Code has become less clear, which in turn has increased the administrative burden.
Administrative burden. Entrepreneurs found that although there has been a lot of talk of decreasing the administrative burden, the burden has, instead, increased for them. The greatest problem is submitting double data to the state authorities. It was found that if an entrepreneur has sent data to one authority, same data should not be submitted to another authority again.
Insolvency. The biggest problem for entrepreneurs is the poor protection of creditors and issues related to bankruptcy masters. For example, it was found that more prohibition on business should be applied to the so-called figureheads and bankruptcy masters.
Commercial law. The respondents found that the Commercial Law is one of the few fields where there aren’t many problems, and which rather supports entrepreneurship. The main problem was seen in the liquidation of companies, which is time-consuming and complicated.
Other problems set out included reorganisation of the health care system and fixing the electricity and road infrastructure. The aim of the latter is to prevent that the taxes would not be used to keep up the part of the infrastructure that is not used. A proposal was made to decrease electricity network fees for industrial companies. Additionally, entrepreneurs found that the number of Estonian public-sector officials is too high, and this should be significantly decreased.